Lee Speaks About Music… #50

The Best Of Lee Speaks About Music


2017 Awards


It’s been quite a year since I decided to make my new blog site back on the 17th April this year. Since then I have amassed many more albums, DVD’s & Blu Rays to add to my music collection and have had an exciting year listening and writing about them all.

In total I have amassed 49 more bits of media that have come in the shape of Digital Downloads. CD’s. DVD’s. Blu Rays and Box Sets from both mainstream and unsigned artists. No matter what media format they come in, you can be sure they all have something to say, and I very much like to speak back at them.

Many of the mainstream artists media I have purchased is very much the case of buying them again, to update my collection with the new 5.1 mixes more than anything. And for me personally that is very much a must of a thing to do, and I do not mind forking out that bit more for the quality you get on these new releases either.

But has with all media I personally would not be throwing too much money at them, and I basically like to see value for money, and certainly would not be spending ridiculous money like over £100 or more on a box set that comes with an array of extra discs, just to obtain one album with a 5.1 mix.

Those artists who do such things and do not even make the album available as an individual release with a 5.1 mix on, can kiss my arse as far I am concerned, and they are nothing but greedy money grabbers.

For example most of the new 5.1 releases I have purchased and reviewed come either with a CD and a DVD or Blu Ray and some even with 2 CD’s a DVD or Blu Ray and cost around the £12 to £20 mark. Which is great value for money. Some have also come with more discs for around the same price or slightly higher.

Just lately I noticed the Eagles had put out their 40th Anniversary release of their 1976 album Hotel California which comes with 2 CD’s and a DVD. Yet they are charging £85 for it. How on earth can anybody see that as value for money. It’s nothing but pure greed and no way would I buy it. I am sorry to say but at that price it’s way over the odds and is simply a case of “Welcome to the hotel cant’ afford ya” :)))))))))).

I thought I would use this last blog of the year to give some credit to the best purchases I made in 2017 and put them into a few categories to show why they merited an award so to speak. I am going to start it off with the best package and box set of the year. So here goes…

The Best Box Set Package Of The Year…


The 40th Anniversary Box Set of Jethro Tull’s classic 1977 album Songs From The Wood wins this award with ease. I pre-ordered this on Amazon and to even think you could get an hardbound 96 page book that contains 3 CD’s and 2 DVD’s for the sum of £19.19 it’s got to be the bargain of the century.

You would be dead lucky to get it at this price now and right now on Amazon it’s priced up at £58.32 here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Wood-Country-40th-Anniversary/dp/B06XZWT72V/ref=sr_1_1_twi_aud_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1513005721&sr=1-1&keywords=jethro+tull+songs+from+the+wood+40th+anniversary+edition+box+set

But I dare say prices will fluctuate up and down on Amazon. But if you shop around a bit, I would expect that you could still obtain it cheaper. But perhaps not as cheap as I got it.

It always pays to pre-order new releases before they are released if you want the best price. If I remember rightly when I first ordered this box set it was priced at £35. But with most pre-orders the price does drop down a lot by the time it gets released as in this case.

Speaking of such a thing I have on the 11th of this month just pre-ordered the 40th Anniversary of Jethro Tull’s Heavy Horses which once again comes in an hardbound book, 3 CD’s and 2 DVD’s. On Amazon it’s currently priced up at £32.08 but like all pre-orders that price will come down by the time it does get released which will be on the 9th February 2018 in this case.

The other good thing about Amazon is the fact that when you pre-order anything from them. They do not take your money from your bank until they have dispatched the item. In general they take your money during the week it’s about to be released or even a day or two before the release date when they dispatch it.

So it does allow you time to save up for the item and you can always cancel the item before it’s dispatched should you not be able to afford it that week.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Songs From The Wood is a superb quality made package. It’s a lot better quality than how any hardbound book has been made with its construction.

Personally I think all artists should follow suit when presenting their Anniversary Editions instead of using cheap cardboard wallets to house the discs in like you get with many box sets that cost well over £100.

Quite frankly this box set puts the Eagles 40th Anniversary Edition of Hotel California to shame, and it was sold at a quarter of the price of that thing. They really are ripping you off I am afraid.

You can find my full detailed review of the 40th Anniversary Box Set of Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/lee-speaks-about-music-6/

The Best Mainstream Artist Album Of The Year…


To be honest I have not brought that many new studio albums that was released in 2017 by mainstream artists at all. I tend to spend my money on newer releases of the albums I already have for the 5.1 mixes or on a lot more older albums from the 70’s I never had back then, and have now got into sort of thing.

Out of all my reviews here, I am pretty sure that only 3 of the mainstream artist’s studio albums I brought were released this year. They were The Source by Ayreon. We Are Legend by Magenta and Is This The Life We Really Want by Roger Waters.

I decided to give the award to Roger Waters in the end. Basically because it was great to see a new rock album from him since he last done one 25 years ago, and he still managed to make a very good album that is certainly consistent and familiar with his previous works.

I felt that the new Magenta album was good, but I also felt it was a bit to close to some other bands influences on that score. I was not fond of some of the more modern samples you hear in today’s pop music either.

As for Ayreon’s double album. That would of won the award, had it have not been let down by the material that was written for the 2nd Disc of the album.

I certainly would say that the opening track on the 1st Disc entitled “The Day That the World Breaks Down” was the best Progressive Rock track of the year by far. I would also say that the packaging the album came in was of the highest quality as well. It really was a splendid well made package.

But for me it was a pleasant surprise to see a new album by Roger Waters. The fact that he can still churn out great albums in his particular style and his so consistent at doing so. Is why he merits this ward.

You can find my full detailed review of Is This The Life We Really Want by Roger Waters here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/lee-speaks-about-music-7/

The Best Unsigned Artist Album Of The Year…


I have to confess that all the unsigned artists I have brought and reviewed this year have done an extremely talented job on all the albums and EP’s they have released and produced. In total I purchased 19 albums done by 12 different bands and individual artists.

It also left me with a very difficult choice to pick the album I have merited with the award here, especially has the album Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman is very much a pop album and not that of my fave of genres of progressive rock.

But for me personally music no matter what shape or form it comes in, if done well in the first place will speak to me, and every album I brought here must of spoke to me to buy them in the first place.

Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman is a very well produced album and one where Bas has called upon some excellent musicians to lend an hand in making it all happen. His style of music is very much like that of Sting’s and just like him he can skilfully craft out great pop songs that have other elements of jazz and blues thrown in for good measure.

Considering this is an album that Bas sings in his own native language of Dutch and many will not even understand what on earth he’s singing about. It takes nothing away from the pleasure of listening to it, and it’s also an highly addictive album that will have you simply coming back for more spins. This is why it merits this award.

You can find my full detailed review of Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/lee-speaks-about-music-2/

The Best Unsigned Artist Concept Album Of The Year…


Well I do like a good concept album every now and then, and surprisingly there is 4 of the unsigned artists albums I brought and reviewed this year that I had to choose from, that had some kind of a concept to them.

But 2 of them were real concept albums in the way that they was written that way in the first place and had a complete story to tell. Those 2 were The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Gordon Midgley which was based around one of Edgar Alan Poe’s short stories. The other was a children’s story with a bit of humour thrown in, and was Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks.

The other 2 concept albums were the Tales of Auld Reekie by Dancing With Ghosts which contained a selection of fine haunting folk songs based around the history of Edinburgh in Scotland. And the other was a loosely based musical concept album entitled Marathon by Dunlooser.  Which was musically based around the war between the Persians and Greeks and ancient Greek Mythology.

To be honest all 4 albums are extremely well crafted and immensely enjoyable to listen too. But what the 7 piece band from Northamptonshire came up with who go by the name of Orange Clocks did, was quite an amazing concept in the way that it was just as exciting as what Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds was to some extent. Even if it was based on a spoof about a kiddies glove puppet destined for a television series that was to be released in Germany in 1973.

Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks is quite an amazing piece of work and is an highly addictive album. To even think that the band (to which they very much are) performing the album live in it’s entirety is something else. It took Jeff Wayne decades to bring War Of The Worlds to the stage and here are these guys performing it straight after they made it early this year. This is why it merits the best concept album of the year award.

You can find my full detailed review of Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/lee-speaks-about-music-45/

The Best New Unsigned Artist/Band Of The Year…


Over this year I stumbled across 4 newcomers in the way of them being unsigned artists who very much impressed me a lot. 3 of them are actual bands and the other being a guy who sits at home making music in his spare time, when he gets some. They are the German band Sproingg. The Northampton band Orange Clocks. The band from Los Angeles Mammoth and a Liverpudlian who lives in New Zealand who goes under the name of The Bob Lazar Story.

I can tell you now that all 4 of them made highly addictive albums that rock my boat 100%. Two of the bands have only made their debut albums this year. Whereas Mammoth have made several just like the Liverpudlian who lives in New Zealand has made 3 albums and 3 EP’s. The fact that he has been so consistent with every release more or less is why The Bob Lazer Story merits this award.

The man behind The Bob Lazar Story, Matt Deacon comes armed with a Mouse to construct the music on his computer. Mainly the keyboard parts, and then plays his guitars along to it and brings in other great musicians to play the bass and drums.

To be perfectly honest it’s perhaps not the way I like to see music being made, and I do myself prefer real musicians and instruments across the board just like the other 3 bands I mentioned here have done. But this is highly sophisticated music Matt is creating here and he is without a doubt a great guitarist with a great mind too.

The music of The Bob Lazar Story is that addictive. I simply had to buy it all. I chose to feature his 3rd EP Self Loathing Joe here simply because I rather think it makes an excellent starting point to get into the great music he creates.

You can find my full detailed review of Self Loathing Joe by The Bob Lazar Story here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/lee-speaks-about-music-34/

The Best 5.1 Mix Of The Year…


Well it was not released this year and I only decided to buy this album again this year. But never the less this Definitive Edition release that comes with a CD & Blu Ray of one of the best progressive rock albums of all time Close To The Edge by Yes is purely a stunning new mix. I could honestly throw my vinyl album from the 70’s in the bin and be happy with this release that’s for sure.

I think Steve Wilson done a grand job with the mixes of all 5 of the Yes albums that got released in the Definitive Series. But how he mixed this particular album in 5.1 was breathtaking, especially the middle section of the albums self titled song, which quite frankly blew my mind.

To be honest Steve Wilson is not my ultimate favourite 5.1 mixing engineer and over the many albums he has done 5.1 mixes for, he has without a doubt improved a lot on that score. I would even go as far as to say that Close To The Edge is the best 5.1 mix Steve Wilson has ever done on any album.

You can find my full detailed review of Close To The Edge by Yes here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/lee-speaks-about-music-13/


Well that about wraps up this year’s awards apart from one special award I feel deserves to be here for its sheer beauty. And this award goes to an album I did finally buy this year and it was released some 5 years ago in 2012. For me it is without doubt a very special album and up there with the very best.

The Special Album Of The Year…


Chris Fry is very much a very talented versatile guitar player and more known for his guitar work with the neo prog rock band Magenta. I have been into Magenta for a good few years now and have all their albums. It was at the beginning of this year I finally stumbled upon his solo album Composed on Magenta’s website where I buy all my albums from the band, because they are always cheaper to buy from there.

For example the physical CD of Composed cost me £8 and that price even included the postage & packaging here in the UK. It’s peanuts compared to the beauty this album actually beholds. It’s an album that gives me tremendous pleasure listening to every now and then and will last me a lifetime.

It was down to the fact that at the time I started my new blog site of Lee Speaks About Music. I knew there was a new Magenta album coming out and I had pre-ordered it. So has I knew I would be reviewing that album, I very much decided to drag this one out and do a review of it just before.

The album Composed by Chris Fry is a solid body of work. It’s an album I would personally rate a lot better than some of Magenta’s albums. It’s pure Gold and that’s is why it merits this special award.

You can find my full detailed review of Composed by Chris Fry here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/lee-speaks-about-music-4/


Now that really is it for the end of the year and I am looking forward to see what goodies will be coming out in 2018. I already have a couple of goodies on pre-order on Amazon which will be coming out towards the end of January and into February. and will be looking forward to reviewing those in the new year with plenty of others.

In many ways I would love to dig out some of the older albums to review I brought before starting this blog, but the fact is that I am forever buying music media every month, and the time it takes up to write a review, makes it practically impossible to do so.

For all those who never merited an end of year award or never got mentioned here. I can assure you that you all done a superb job and provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure.

I am not the sort of person who will buy an album just to review it. I buy albums because I genuinely like them, and in no way would I buy an album for sympathy or something that does not appeal to my personal taste.

Music to me is something I love a lot and love to listen too, and I can assure you, I am not the kind of person who will buy an album just to let it gather dust by not wanting to play it every now and then. The music has to speak to me to buy it in the first place.

I have already turned down a couple of unsigned artists this year who had seen my blog site and emailed me asking if I would review their albums. Having given them a quick listen, it was a case of having to I am afraid.

I do not have anything personal against anybody. But if I was to review those albums I honestly think they would not of been pleased with my review. Because basically when it comes to speaking about music I am honest and will speak my mind.

The music I buy and choose to review has to come from myself and be something that appeals to my taste has I have already stated. And all my reviews are based on my own personal opinion and nobody else’s on that score. Every one of us has different tastes and will see different things in other peoples music.

Finally I would like to thank everybody who has taken an interest in my blog site and wish you all a happy and creative new year.

Music was my first love and it will be my last. Music of the future and music of the past…

The immortal words of John Miles….

Lee Speaks About Music… #49

 Innate – Mammoth

M - I


Well since I received this bands latest album Deviations for my birthday from my good friend Dirk Radloff I very much had to checkout Mammoth’s back catalogue and was quite blown away by their 2nd album release Innate. This album impressed me that much, that it was very much a must to have for my album collection.

There is no doubt that the 3 piece band Mammoth have gone through quite a few line-up changes since they surfaced back in 2012. Innate is an album that was made with their most consistent line-up.

Mammoth 2

                  Wes Thrailkill; Guitars             Aliyar Kinik: Drums          Chase Bryant: Bass

This line-up of the band first featured on the bands 3rd release Polymorphism released back in 2014. The bass player Chase Bryant also featured on 1 track on their 2013 release of Dimension of Inversion.

The only change to the line-up from 2014 up till now is the bands bass player. Though Chase Bryant did also get to feature on a guest spot on 1 of the tracks on their latest 2016 album Deviations.

Innate Album In Review…

The album Innate by Mammoth was released on the 19th of May 2015. It’s perhaps a mini album in that it only contains 5 tracks over a playing time of 28 minutes, but never the less even in terms of most Digital EP’s being around the 24 minute slot and albums being around this short time slot in the 60’s and 70’s. For the benefit of the doubt I shall refer to it as an album.

To be honest most of Mammoth’s releases are over these type of shorter distances, some even shorter than this which are EP’s. Their longest album is their latest which weighs in at the 41 minute mark and is entitled Deviants.

The band maybe struggling to write material in some ways when you look at how short some of their releases are. But this is quite common with this type of music has it is very complex and takes a lot of working out.

I myself do p[refer the old time slots for albums of around the 30 to 40 minute mark. Simply because 1. Being that you can give them more attention, especially if you have a large record collection like myself. The album is over that much quicker so you can devote a lot more time to your record collection and not let them gather dust so to speak.

2. Simply because most albums around the 60 to 80 minutes mark are often filled with gap fillers just to make it look like your getting more value for your money. It’s a lot harder to make solid albums over the longer distance, and there is no need to use up all the space on a compact disc just to try and squeeze your money’s worth out of the disc.

So now let’s take a look at the 5 tracks in further detail here and see what you’re getting for your money so to speak.

Track 1. Innate.

I have to confess that the albums self titled track should by rights merit the top spot on the album award. It’s purely a superb track that goes in all the right places I would expect it to go. It’s also a very exciting track and speaks highly to myself as well.

My only gripe here is how it’s been mixed more than anything. Though I will also state that my personal gripe is also very minimalistic and nowhere enough to spoil the thrills and joys of hearing this marvellous piece of music.

To be perfectly honest my little gripes are quite tedious and to many people they most likely will not see my little niggles as being valid and worth bringing up in the first place.

For example if you listen to the overdubbed little guitar notes around the 1:16 – 1:26 mark. I have no real problem with the overdub itself, it’s just that for my ears I think they are a bit of tad to forward in the mix and do not seat that well. They perhaps stand out too tall is perhaps what I am trying to say.

This video of the band playing a run through of the track is very well done and oddly enough that little gripe I had, I cannot hear on it. Maybe it’s down to being more focused on the band playing there parts.

Innate (Band Play Through)

Without a doubt the self titled album track “Innate” is very much one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album. It’s very much a piece that has a very exciting blistering pace about it and goes up and down in the right places with how it weaves in and out of its styles of prog rock and jazz fusion. It’s a super very well constructed piece of work that has bags of diversity and progression along its path.

Track 2. Ceremonial Design.

The 2nd track on the album starts off at quite a pace and then it paces itself out in style with the jazz fusion they have so well crafted and blended into it all. It certainly has the flavour of the band Brand X and even artists like Alan Holdsworth about it all. It’s very much another excellent well crafted piece of music and it’s what I would even call Class.

Ceremonial Design” is without a doubt a classy piece of work and so very well structured and written piece of music, that it merits my top spot on the album award. Though I will say that with this album, it’s certainly difficult to make such a choice. Because every track is so well written, and for me personally this whole album is pure class.

Track 3. Repetition in Regression.

Another pure class piece on the album that weaves it’s way along in and out of superb styles. The interplay between all 3 band members is so superbly done and it features some super lead guitar from Wes Thrailkill with really great contrasting tones with whatever guitar effects he uses. Even the tones Chase Bryant gets out of his bass is to die for.

This superb piece is another very high contender for the top spot on the album, and out of the first 3 tracks on the album its perhaps so damn difficult to chose a genuine real favourite because they are all so equally highly addictive and very well done.

Track 4. Dispositional.

The shortest track on the album and one that is built up of overdubbed rhythms on the guitar. This piece does not feature the whole band and was most likely done by Wes Thrailkill himself. His guitars are very well blended together and the piece works well as a nice little more subtle come down section on the album.

Track 5. Paradigm.

The final track on the album sees the band back together and it’s a very powerful track. It’s perhaps the rocker of the album yet still goes through some great progression with its great well worked out structured riffs on the guitar. It ends the album off superbly and is another contender for the top spot I feel too.


The album Innate by Mammoth is a very solid and exciting album that has bags of diversity and progression, it also has plenty of adrenalin and style and contains some very well crafted complex written pieces of music along its path. Personally I cannot fault anything on the album, and it works very well with everything you have here.

The highlights of the album would have to be the self titled album track “Innate“. “Ceremonial Design” and “Repetition in Regression“. These tracks are very much sheer class with how well they have been structured and written. There is no doubt that the band Mammoth consists of 3 highly skilled musicians.

Speaking of the band’s name. I have just recently noticed from the latest post on the bands Facebook wall, that they intend to change it next year. Their decision to do so may very well be down to them reading my previous review of their latest album Deviants I published 4 days ago and sent to them.

I also read that they are also working on a new album for next year and I shall certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for that.


The album Innate by Mammoth maybe short in that it’s only 28 minutes long, but for me personally it’s the best album the band have made. It’s also the most solid one with the material that’s upon it. The album tracks are all very well placed too, and great care and attention has been applied to the placement of all the tracks on the album.

It’s an highly addictive album and one that I feel for everyone out there who enjoys prog rock combined with jazz fusion should have in their record collection.

Considering the album can be obtained for only 5 dollars which is peanuts. I certainly think it’s the best 5 dollars I have spent on music this year at this price. These guys can certainly play and are crafting out genuine quality music that will give you countless hours of enjoyment.

Check out the album for yourself. It comes with my 100% recommendation…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Innate here : https://mammothprog.bandcamp.com/album/innate

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Innate. 10:11.
02. Ceremonial Design. 3:26.
03. Repetition in Regression. 6:01.
04. Dispositional. 2:58.
05. Paradigm. 5:25.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #48

Deviations – Mammoth



Well I guess I have to thank my good friend Dirk Radloff for introducing me to this 3 piece band from Los Angeles who go by the name of Mammoth after he very kindly sent it me as a gift on my birthday. I have to say it was quite a very good gift too.

I must say it’s very strange how any band would want to call themselves Mammoth. Especially when there have already been 7 bands who have gone by the same name over the past 3 decades. Oddly enough the first band that went by the name of Mammoth was a 4 piece band and were formed from the breakup of the Ian Gillan band back in the 80’s here in the UK.

Though that band only made 1 album it consisted of a load of heavy weights with a 19 stone bass player. A 22 stone drummer. A 24 stone guitar player and a 20 stone vocalist. They was certainly a Mammoth and perhaps lived up more to the name more than the 3 light weights we have here :)))))).

Joking aside and as light weighted the guys may appear to be in this 3 piece band who go by the same name, they certainly are in fine shape and their music carries quite a lot of weight with how so very well they have crafted and structured it all together.


The Band Mammoth…

Has far as I can make out the band Mammoth were put together by guitarist Wes Thrailkill around 2011 and in January of 2012 they released an EP entitled Shapeless. Since then the band have gone through quite a few line-up changes regarding the bass players and drummers but have always maintained to be a 3 piece outfit.

Since the release of their first EP back in 2012 they have released a further 2 EP’s and 3 albums plus a compilation album and have built up quite a following. They certainly appear to be more popular judging by the sales of their 3rd album to date Deviations which was released last year, and appear to be having more success with their current line-up who are as follows:

Wes Thrailkill: Guitars.
Yasutaka Nomura: Bass.
Aliyar Kinik: Drums.

Although this is in fact the line-up that played on the album Deviations judging by this superb live performance of the albums opening track they played in September this year. They either have a new drummer by the name of Lang Zhao or he was filling in the spot on the drums at this gig.

Mammoth Live at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago 23rd September 2017.

No doubt the band can play and you need to be able to as well to be able to perform as good as this and play complex music at this level. They really area force and are excellent musicians. I would certainly pay to see them live and wish they lived a lot nearer on that score.

Deviations Album In Review…

Mammoth’s 3rd album release Deviations was released on the 21st October 2016. It’s their latest studio album and 6th release not counting their compilation album. The album contains 7 instrumental tracks and has a very respectable playing time of just over the 41 minute mark by a few seconds. The bands musical style reminds me a bit like the 70’s English band Brand X in that it’s along the lines of progressive rock and jazz fusion. Only Mammoth perhaps have a more modern approach to it all.

Though I would say that more modern approach is more derived from the keyboards that have been added in the studio. They tend to be more ambient and simplistic in the way they are just supported by a chord here and there, and nothing as complex like a more skilled keyboard player such has Robin Lumley would lend to the band Brand X on that score.

But overall the keyboards used on the album do a good enough job and I certainly could not take anything away from the 3 piece band that lies beneath it, and they are all very skilled musicians who have great timing and are a very close nit 3 piece band who can even take their skills to the stage and put on a superb live performance.

Besides the 3 main musicians of the band. The album Deviations also features a few guest musicians who play on a couple of the tracks. One of them is even their former bass player Chase Bryant who dropped in to play a bass solo on the 4th track. Mateus Asato who has also featured for the band in the way of having a guest spot on some of their previous albums, also contributes a guitar solo on the same track and Ben Luria plays some sax on the 2nd track of the album.

So now let’s take a look at the 7 tracks on the album and I will try my best to describe what we have here.

Track 1. Entanglements.

The opening track is one of the 4 lengthier tracks on the album. It’s title very much fits the music we have here like a glove, with its many twists in the way the music has been structured. It consists of short spasm bursts projecting from Wes Thrailkill’s guitar with interchanging short melody lines. It’s very complex and runs in many directions and shows great diversity and progression.

To be honest for even the bass player to follow some of these guitar lines it’s got to be one hell of a task, and you will very much need a bass guitarist who can play on the same level of the guitarist. And for my money Yasutaka Nomura does an extremely superb job in keeping up with it all and really does the business on this track too. The interplay between the guitar and bass is purely magic.

There is no doubt you also need a drummer of equal stature to keep everything in place here, and Aliyar Kinik fits the bill perfectly.

Entanglements” is one hell of a superb piece of music that is very well put together with not just it’s magical short burst spasms from how it all opens up, but the way it also contains more heavier power chord changes verging on metal in parts, and it even contains some more sweeter smoother come down melodies with the rhythm guitar and a sweet bass solo along its path. It’s very much one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Obscurements.

More twists and turns are contained in the longest track on the album which is entitled “Obscurements“. This 10 minute epic goes down more roads than what you would probably find in my city :))))). It’s a track that not only features Ben Luria playing some well good sax that works very well with the piece, but even the bands drummer Aliyar Kinik is on a roll here too.

There is once again some excellent interplay in some of the sections on this great track, and it’s not until we are into the 2nd half of it all that Ben’s sax comes into play adding a jazzy vibe to it all. The track does tend to wind down at the 7:40 mark and fizzles its way out so to speak. But this is another great track and one that is also in contention to have a stab at being a contender for the top spot.

Track 3. The Hilarity of Singularity.

One of the shorter tracks on the album and one that is perhaps more of a modern approach and something they perhaps seen as an attempt to make a single so to speak. They even included the sound of the needle being placed on the record. Which is very much another gimmick associated with modern pop music.

The track is very much constructed from the sound of a Clav playing some sort of frenzy. It also contains some ridiculous voice over that sounds like something from the television. The bass and drums are perhaps the best thing about it all, and I rather think this track lets the album down a bit on that score. It’s just too much of a mishmash and not my thing I am afraid.

Track 4. The Acclimation of Sedation.

A rather strange title but never the less I quite like it. I have to say the band are very much back on par with this piece and musically it has to be the best written piece on the album. This one very much merits the top spot award on the album and is my favourite track.

Once again we get some superb short spasms with the interchanging melody lines and then it settles into more of a jazz fusion mode with some really gorgeous well written melody lines. The piece features a gorgeous bass solo from the bands former bass player  Chase Bryant that comes into play at the 1;50 mark and around the 3:03 mark Mateus Asato contributes his guitar solo in one of the most gorgeous sections of the piece.

No doubt this is a class piece and a very well structured piece of work. There is some really superb precision from all the band here and it’s up there with many other superb bands that have this passion and flare for fusing jazz into their music. Though I would of liked a better ending rather than the voice over thingy. But that is hardly enough to spoil the beauty here at all.

Tracks 5,6, & 7. Limited Access To The One/Deviant/Unlimited Access To None.

Although the 5th track may seem like another short track on the album, it’s very much the 1st part of a 3 piece suite with how all the final 3 tracks are blended into one another like one track. “Limited Access To The One” kicks the whole thing off with an ambient keyboard intro that has a bit of a sense of tension and dramatics about it, with how it builds up.

The intro is only short and all of 42 seconds then in comes the heavier guitars thrusting more power into the piece. Its a very well worked out piece and the band are once again playing around a section of short quick bursts of power chords. It’s what I would call the more rockier section of the piece and it’s a very well structured piece.

The 2nd part of the suite is the albums title track “Deviations” and I must admit why they chose this piece for the title of the album is a bit bizarre, especially as it’s sandwiched in between two tracks that have a connection with the titles they gave to tracks 5 and 7.

Deviations” is the shortest section of the suite and is the more ambient softer section too. It starts off with a series of repeating harmonics on the guitar and is built up with the use of the keyboards more than anything thing else. The bass and drums play very little in this piece to be honest, but what little part they do play works quite well.

The final section of the suite “Unlimited Access To None” is the longest part of the 3 here. It has more of a jazzy flavour about it and is my favourite part of it. You can also get to hear how it’s very much a sister to the 1st part with how it falls back into it by playing an encore of it towards the end. I think they have combined all 3 parts of it very well and it winds up the whole album very well.


Well I have never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth so to speak and since receiving the album Deviations by Mammoth has a treat for my birthday from my good friend. I have give it that many spins now I have lost count. But as with any album I review I do tend to give them at least 7 complete spins before writing any review. I would say that before I wrote my review here, the album got double that amount of spins.

Furthermore I went on Bandcamp to investigate the bands music further and gave all their albums a complete spin. Having done so I can tell you that the band Mammoth have certainly come on a long way over the past couple of years, and in many ways have changed their style a bit to include a touch of jazz fusion to it, and they tended to have more of rock approach earlier on, and some their material even reminded me of a bit like Joe Satriani.

In some ways listening to their earlier material I get the sense that the guitarist Wes Thrailkill may have been influenced by Satriani. Though there is no doubt that since the release of their 2015 album Innate I would say that he has found more of his own style and come along in leaps and bounds.

Today the band Mammoth sound more like a modern day version of Brand X but they have put their own stamp on the music they are now presenting to you and I personally find it way better than any of their releases before 2015. Though their debut album is quite a good album I will say, but it’s perhaps not as well produced.

To sum up the album Deviations by Mammoth it’s quite an enjoyable album and one I can sit with and appreciate the material that was written for it. I would not say it’s a solid album though, but then again that is perhaps down to my own preferable taste.

For example I am not so fond of the keyboard work on some of the tracks. Though I can see why they decided to use them perhaps. I have a couple of other gripes as well especially with the 3rd track on the album.

I also think their previous album Innate is a much stronger and solid album that works that much better for not having any keyboards. I personally think it’s their best album and one I had to buy myself cause it’s that good.


To conclude my review of the band Mammoth and their latest album to date Deviations. I would say that the 3 piece band are really class musicians who have done their homework and learned their instruments very well and put in the time. They are without a doubt highly skilled, and to be able to perform the music they create so well on the stage, they really are a force to be reckoned with and a super band.

Deviations may not be quite on par with their previous album, but never the less it’s still a very well crafted album and at its price point it’s a steal. The highlights for me are the tracks “Entanglements“. “Obscurements“. “The Acclimation of Sedation” and the final part of the long suite “Unlimited Access To None“.

It’s easy to see why the band Mammoth have quite a following, and to even be able to go out and support bands like Haken who are another superb prog rock band. You have to have that something special about you. And Mammoth certainly do.

Check it out for yourself. It may just be what you was looking for…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Deviations here : https://mammothprog.bandcamp.com/album/deviations

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Entanglements. 8:03.
02. Obscurements. 10:00.
03. The Hilarity of Singularity. 2:56.
04. The Acclimation of Sedation. 6:31.
05. Limited Access To The One. 3:26.
06. Deviations. 2:24.
07. Unlimited Access To None. 7:44.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.


Lee Speaks About Music… #47

The End (Blu Ray) – Black Sabbath



Well I suppose it’s time to say goodbye to one of the greatest rock bands that first made an impression back in 1970 when they released their self titled album Black Sabbath. A few decades have passed us by since then, and the band have gone through a load of different singers since Ozzy Osbourne was fired by them in 1979.

The original 3 members of the band once again reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and started playing quite a lot of live shows. It was in the December of that year that I myself seen them play live in my own town of Birmingham at the NEC Arena. They put on a really great show and were performing the songs live a lot better than they did back in the 70’s to be honest.

Since the band did reform many of their fans were calling out for a new album. Though it was not until a decade and half later in the year 2013 that they finally did get to do another album together, and by then the bands drummer Bill Ward had retired from the band due to his health. Both Ward and Osbourne had also fallen out with each other at this point to, and both have never made amends since.

The bands new album entitled 13 was quite a good album and in the same year the band went on another live tour promoting it, playing songs from the new album along with old classics from the 70’s. Brad Wilk played drums on the studio album, though he never played with the band on the road, and he was replaced by Tommy Clufetos.

By the end of the tour of their new album 13 in November of 2013. The band released Live… Gathered in Their Masses which was a live concert that they played on the other side of the world in Melbourne Australia. It was released in several formats CD/DVD/Blu Ray and a Box Set and I purchased the Blu Ray. Once again I have to say it was another really great live show featuring the same lineup we have here on their latest release The End.

The End In Review…

The End by Black Sabbath was released on the 17th November 2017. I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon and it arrived on the same day. Regarding what format to buy it in was a bit confusing at the time, because none of the formats were advertised very well and you could not really see if you was going to be missing anything by just say getting the DVD only for example. So in the end I just opted to go for the single Blu Ray and got it at a very reasonable price of £14.99.

The End Release Editions…

I have to say having now seen what you get in the way of other releases it came in. I honestly think I made a very wise choice.

For example one of the other choices I could of gone for was the 2 Blu Ray edition which was going for £21.99. Now upon recently discovering what was on the 2nd Blu Ray disc. I can honestly say that I am so glad I never wasted my money in buying it.

This particular edition does come in a nice cardboard gatefold sleeve, rather than the standard Blu Ray box I got mine in. However the so called 2nd disc is not a Blu Ray at all and is in fact a CD. The CD itself contains only contains 5 audio tracks, which are the very same tracks from The Angelic Sessions which happens to be a special feature on the single Blu Ray I purchased. And on that you can see the band in the studio with your own eyes playing the bloody things.

You can actually buy the double CD of this concert for £16.99. But I do not see that as value. Especially with both the Blu Ray and the DVD being cheaper at £14.99 and £12.99 respectively, and you will not only get to hear it, but you get to see it as well, and the actual sound quality is far more superior.

In reality that so called 2 Blu Ray edition for £21.99 should of came with the Double CD of the actual concert and not just some CD with 5 tracks on it.

You could of coarse of went out with the whole hog and brought the Box Set for £49.99.


The End Box Set.

It contains the Double CD. The Angelic CD. The DVD and the Blu Ray. You even get a slightly different booklet with 12 more pages, a few guitar pics thrown into boot and a wallet to store them in and a badge. WOW! :)))))))))).

Wow it may seem, but just look how they stored the discs in cheap cardboard wallets and why on earth would you want all these discs that contain nothing more than what’s on the DVD & Blu Ray in the first place. The only extras here are the guitar pics, the wallet and the extra 12 pages in the booklet and the badge.

The End Blu Ray Review…

The End is a concert that captures Black Sabbath performing for the very last time, right at the very end of their farewell tour. Which all ended on the 4th February 2017 in their own town of Birmingham in England at the Genting Arena which was formerly known as the NEC Arena when I first saw them back in 1997.

Since the concert was released in various media formats on the 17th November last month. I have come across quite a few mixed reviews about it, which led myself to hold back my own review to check out a few things first, and wait for more reviews from other people to surface.

There appears to be a lot of unhappy fans regarding this release just by reading some reviews, and apparently The End was put out on the cinemas before the official media release in the stores.

Eagle Rock were the team behind the film, and it appears that what was shown on the cinema did also contain some film footage of the members of the band in the way of a documentary, as well as the live concert performed at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

To be honest I am not a cinema person so I never got to see it. I did also buy this release for the concert alone, and was not aware that any documentary had been made. But that would of made a great extra bonus feature for the Blu Ray, and I would liked to have seen that myself. So I can see why some of the fans are a bit upset.

There also seems to a lot of mixed reviews regarding the actual footage of the concert that was released. Many saying it was badly out of sync and they was not happy with the slowed down film footage you get every now and then.

Having watched the whole concert on Blu Ray a few times to be honest and I cannot see what on earth all the fuss is about. To be honest on the opening track which is the bands self titled song “Black Sabbath“. Ozzy does sing the opening verse of the song a bit too fast. But this has nothing what so ever to do with the film being out of sync, and is a case of Ozzy being out of time and nothing more. It’s also the only real mistake he does make as well.

Regarding the slowed down camera shots. This is something you get with a lot of concerts, and it’s done more for visual effect. OK for some it may be annoying but they do not do it throughout the whole of the concert and its more so in the first half. I do not really think it spoils the concert here at all. Honestly some of the people winging over this release need to get a life :))))).

The only real fault I did find on the Blu Ray was that on uploading the disc it just starts playing the concert straight away rather than present with you with a menu. By pressing the menu button on the remote control of your player it does take you to the menu so that you can make your choice of audio and see the extra bonus material and so on.

The Blu Ray.

SS 1

The main menu presents you with 4 options to choose from and plays some scenes of all the band members from the concert footage accompanied by the bands music. It’s just a shame that the disc never loaded to this screen first and you have to access it by using the remote control to get to it.

SS 2

By clicking on Songs from the main menu it presents you with the screen above which shows you all the songs that the band played at the concert. You can simply select what song you want to play.

SS 3

The Angelic Sessions is the bonus feature on the disc and here you can see the 5 songs the band played in the rehearsal studio.

SS 4

The final option from the main menu is the Audio Setup. Here you have the choice of LPCM Stereo which is set by default or the 5.1 mix which is the DTS Master Audio. Both formats come in a super high quality of 24/96K.

The 5.1 Mix.

To be honest concerts of bands like Black Sabbath are not the type of bands that will utilise the surround system for a 5.1 mix, and in general the rear speakers are more used for the noise from the audience to give you the feel and atmosphere of actually being there.

But of course it also impossible to capture the whole atmosphere of a live show on a recording and nothing beats actually being there on that score.

But no doubt a 5.1 surround mix can get closer to this feeling than any stereo recording could ever possibly get near to, and to be honest I was quite surprised how well they used the rear speakers not just for the audience but also the drums and the odd bit of Tony Iommi’s guitar to really good effect.

Ross Gregory was the guy behind the 5.1 mix and he’s done a really good job of it I have to say and overall sound of the concert is quite superb. They have also utilised the .1 sub woofer channel very well too, and it’s worth having your sub turned a notch or two more to get even more of a greater drive from your system.

The Picture Quality.

The whole of the visuals shot by the video cameras at the concert was directed by Dick Carruthers. Being a guy myself who has 100’s of music concerts on DVD and Blu Ray I can tell you that Carruthers is one of the best in the business. His work for other bands such as Led Zeppelin, OasisThe Rolling Stones and many more is phenomenal to say the least.

Reading some of the critical reviews regarding the way this concert was shot with all the angles and people saying that the quality of the picture of the Blu Ray was no better than the DVD. I can honestly say they must of watched it with shit covering their eyes (LOL).

The show looks totally awesome in full HD and I can tell you straight that no fucking DVD is ever gonna get nowhere near the pristine picture quality of the Blu Ray. It’s purely immaculate.

Musicians & Credits…

An Eagle Rock film production for Eagle Rock Entertainment LTD. Directed by Dick Carruthers. Produced by Jeremy Aziz. Director of photography Eugene O’ Connor. Edited by Tim Walcott. Supervising producer for ERF: Peter Worsley. Production manager for ERF: Melissa Morton Hicks. Audio mixed by Tony Iommi. Greg Price. Mike Exeter. Audio recording Greg Price. Additional Audio Engineering James Boblack. 5.1 Mixes WID Ross Gregory. Business Management Colin Newman.

Ozzy Osbourne: Vocals.
Tony Iommi: Guitar.
Geezer Butler: Bass.
Tommy Clufetos: Drums.
Adam Wakeman: Keyboards/Guitar.

Onto The Show…

Well just by looking at set list of the concert in the songs list in the picture I posted above, it very much seems that Black Sabbath decided to go out with most of the material from their first 4 albums. To which I feel was a bit of a shame, especially as I love the material they did on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage just as well.

The band do play an instrumental medley of “Supernaut“. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Megalomania” whilst Ozzy goes off the stage, but that’s hardly good enough I am afraid, and to miss out songs such as “Looking For Today” and “Hole In The Sky” is sacrilege :))))).

The only other song that did not come from the first 4 albums they play is “Dirty Women” from their 6th album Technical Ecstasy. I do like that one as well and Tony Iommi does a superb job on the solo and it’s one of the high points of the show.

It’s also a bit odd that the band never chose to play anything off their last album 13. But perhaps they thought they covered that with the live release of Live… Gathered in Their Masses from 2013. Perhaps they wanted to make sure that some of their lesser known songs that never got that much live attention in past from their first 4 albums, got done on this final show in favour of some of their other classics.

Speaking of classics the band kick off the show with one with the self titled song “Black Sabbath” which gets followed by another with “Fairies Wear Boots“. Later on we get “War Pigs” and the show ends off with “Iron Man” “Dirty Women“. “Children Of The Grave” and of course no show would be complete without “Paranoid” to which they also tend to end the show on.

Overall the band do a grand job on all of the songs and once again you get to see Ozzy effing and blinding all over the stage and tipping buckets of water over himself :))))). The only time you get to see Rick Wakeman’s son Adam is when Ozzy introduces him as the man you never get to see when he’s introducing the band to you.

The Special Feature…

The special bonus feature they have titled The Angelic Sessions. It captures the band in the Angelic Studios a few days after the live show, and is the last time they played live together even if it was in a studio.

They most likely recorded these other old classics for the future release of the DVD and it’s extras feature. I was pleased that none of the 5 songs here was not ones they played at the concert, so it made this much more interesting and worth watching.

There are a few classics in the 5 songs they do here too, and it was great to see them do “Changes” with just the 3 of them and see Tony playing the piano. Geezer playing the orchestration on a synth and Ozzy singing along to it all.


The Blu Ray edition of The End by Black Sabbath is great value for the money especially down to the fact that it’s priced at a couple of quid cheaper than double CD. I do not see the need to buy the CD when you can see and hear the concert with your own eyes in both superb higher quality with the it’s picture and sound. I would even recommend the DVD over the CD as well on that score.

No doubt some people maybe a bit fussy over the slowed down camera shots you get every now and then, which is mainly through the first half of the show. But that’s done by Dick Carruthers direction for visual effects and I honestly do not mind it myself. You do not get those effects on their last concert in 2013 with Live… Gathered in Their Masses. But for me personally they are both great concerts, but I do also feel that The End contains a better set list even if it is mainly focused on the bands first 4 albums.

Although I have not seen the documentary that was shown on the cinema. I do feel that it should of been put on the Blu Ray and it would of made a great extra feature. I have no idea why it was omitted unless they are holding it back for a later release or even for it to be shown on television at some time in the future.


To conclude my review of The End by Black Sabbath. I would say that even despite there being no documentary and the fact that the band never played some of the material from the albums Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage which I would of loved to have seen. The Blu Ray still represents great value for the money and is well worth it’s price point.

I would also say that with the bands 50th Anniversary coming up next year. This may not be the end, but if it is I am so glad they choose to end it all were they started 49 years ago in my home town of Birmingham.

Yeah I Saw It, I Saw It, I Tell You No Lies…

The Set List is as follows:

01. Black Sabbath.
02. Fairies Wear Boots.
03. Under The Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes.
04. After Forever.
05. Into the Void.
06. Snowblind.
07. War Pigs.
08. Behind the Wall of Sleep.
09. (Basically Geezer Butler Bass Solo) N.I.B.
10. Hand of Doom.
11. Supernaut / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Megalomania / Rat Salad / Drum Solo (Instrumental Medley).
12. Iron Man .
13. Dirty Women.
14. Children of the Grave.
15. Paranoid.

Lee’s overall Complete Blu Ray Value Rating…

The Picture Quality Rating Score. 10/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 5/10

The Overall Concert Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #46

Marathon – Dunlooser

D - M


The album Marathon is a brand new release from an unsigned artist who goes by the name of Kevin Sumner a.k.a. Dunlooser who happens to be a great talented musician and knows how to craft great songs and instrumental pieces. This particular album of his happens to be an instrumental one and very good one at that I will say.

I myself first stumbled across Kevin on Soundcloud a good 5 years ago now, and the output of his work has always pretty much impressed me. Besides being a one man operation sort of thing, and having the ability to be able to craft out the great material that’s on this album. Kevin has very much worked a lot in collaboration with another great musician and producer on Soundcloud who is Dave Friend, and also worked in collaboration with many others too.

Soundcloud I have always seen as a good vehicle to pick up things from, and I have always quite often found it to be good a learning curve myself, and have learned quite a bit myself from it. Though I have never seen myself as that great of a musician to do what the likes of these two guys can, and many others I have come to know over the years on it.

Just by listening to the great production Kevin has done on this first album he has just put out here, I can even see myself that Kevin has even learnt a lot from Dave Friend himself regarding the production we have here, and there is quite a difference from the production work Kevin used to do himself when I first came across him all those years back.

Previous Work/Influences & My Own Thoughts…

Over the many years Kevin has been playing, he has got to play in various bands and music has played a large part in his life. He will perhaps try his hand at most instruments but is mostly associated with stringed instruments, and I would think that the guitar and the mandolin are the type of instruments he enjoys playing the most.

Kevin very much started out playing the mandolin and even though he does play 6 string guitars, he also loves his 4 string tenor guitar as well. This fabulous live performance captures him playing another one of his many compositions on his Ashbury Tenor acoustic guitar.

Portsall Live.

Portsall is a beautiful instrumental piece that was inspired from the place he loves to visit on the Brittany coast. He has a great way of constructing fine melodies, and even though this piece of his is not on this album, there are many beautiful melodies on it.

No doubt like many of us Kevin has been influenced by many artists and bands during his lifetime, and he has quite a wide range of tastes too, and is fond of classical/folk/blues/rock/prog rock and no doubt a few other genres besides.

Over the time I have known him I got to notice his love for Mike Oldfield’s music and perhaps a lot of his influence has rubbed off on Kevin in some ways.

I also got to hear his own attempts of him doing Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells and quite a few variations worked out around it over the years I first stumbled upon him. A lot of it would of been done many years before he joined Soundcloud as well, and would not have measured up to the more quality production I get to hear in his music these days.

I have always been quite a fan of Mike Oldfiled’s earlier works myself and I do get to hear his influence in some ways shine in Kevin’s music. Though I would say that some of  Kevin’s own material is perhaps more based along the acoustic side of Oldfield’s works with albums such as Ommadawn rather than Tubular Bells.

I particularly like that side of Kevin’s music the most because he knows how to combine the acoustic guitar with the mandolin very well, and he knows how to structure some really great melodies with those particular instruments.

You can hear how well he has done so with the material he has made and put on this album Marathon. Only here he as also added some orchestration to it which gives the music a more sweeter refined edge to it, and it’s perhaps leaning now more to the genre of New Age rather than Oldfield’s Ommadawn which was more of your Progressive Rock or Art Rock so to speak.

The Album Marathon In Review…

The new debut album Marathon by Dun Looser was released last month on the 22nd November 2017. The album itself contains 7 instrumental tracks and has a very respectable total playing time of 41 minutes. The album as also been made in the form of a digital download only on Bandcamp and is currently priced up at 5 Euro.

The material that was written for the album Kevin would of wrote over the last 2 years or more and though many would associate the word “Marathon” with running and athletics, here it was inspired by the battle of the Marathon which goes back to ancient Greek times, and a book he had read written by Christian Cameron entitled Killer Of Men which was about the long war. Hence both the word “Marathon” and the names of  the titles Kevin chose for the album tracks.

Though the music is inspired by some ancient long battle, it also has a lot of air and grace about it all. I have to confess that reviewing instrumental albums can be quite a task to take on, especially all the individual tracks. It would of been a lot easier to highlight the best tracks on the album on that score.

But I did find the titles quite interesting which led me to do a bit of research around the subject matter of them. So I got to learn a bit about Greek Mythology along the way. But I was never fond of history myself, but never the less I found it quite fascinating enough to include some of the background of it in the individual tracks has I went along.

Track 1. Ares.

The album opens up with a most beautiful well structured and very well written piece of music entitled “Ares“. Musically it contains some wonderful worked out melodies and the music is more or less structured around the use of percussion and fine orchestration. But for me the magic of it all is just how well Kevin has managed to work in his guitars and even his mandolin into the piece.

In Greek Mythology Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera and one of the twelve Olympians. He was also known as the God Of War. In Greek Literature he can be seen to represent the more physical violent untamed aspect of war. Though also in myth he can be seen as a man who faced a lot humiliation, and this may have been down to being on the losing side of the wars he thought in, including the Trojan War.


Ares: The God Of War

I would rather think that the music Kevin wrote to represent “Ares” captures not only his love of war and his many humiliations, but also Ares love for the goddess of love Aphrodite who was married to Hephaestus and the woman he was having a fling with at the time so to speak.

Ares” is a really great track on the album and quite a strong contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Doru.

Well I could be completely wrong with my own observation about the Greek word “Doru” that goes back to those ancient Greek times. But the word seems to relate to one of the weapons of war they used back then known as a Spear.

This so called spike was also capped on the end with a sauroter which in Greek stood for lizard killer. It also acted as a weight for the counter balance of the spear.

Whatever the “Doru” is in this case musically it tends to weave it’s way along in quite a charming way and has quite a European charm about it.

It’s another fine piece of music and even the mandolin Kevin plays on this one captures that European feel about. It also has not just a Greek feel about it but also a Persian feel to which Christian Cameron was also portraying in his first series of books entitled Killer Of Men.

Track 3. Istes.

On this one Kevin gets out his arsenal of weapons and goes into battle with an array of guitars ranging from electric, bass, acoustic and of course the mandolin. The music he crafts out for this one in particular in some of the more heavier melody lines, do have that Tubular Bells and Mike Oldfield flavour to them.

Musically the piece is more constructed from the instrumentation rather than around the orchestration, and it contains perhaps less orchestration. It portrays the character from Cameron’s book known as Istes very well. Istes was left to defend a city from a Persian invasion so to speak. He was of coarse outnumbered but he never gave in and fought in battle all day long.

During the battle he gathered many of the women and children onto ships so they could flee to their safety. The music perhaps portrays this side of the story with its more subtle side and the beauty in the orchestrated sections. Istes knew himself that he was never going to be able get aboard a ship to safety and dies in battle at the end of a long day.

Istes” is another superb track on the album and happens to be my favourite and merits my top spot award.

Track 4. Kineas.

Quite a pleasant piece this one that builds its way along wonderfully. In some of the melodies it reminds me a bit like some of the great music Gordon Giltrap used to do back in the 70’s. It also has a really great striking middle section that it builds up to and then settles back into its theme to finish it all off very well.

The tyrant Kineas was seen as a semi-god by some and others a tyrannical monster according to Alexander The Great. He belonged to an elite Greek Companion cavalry unit fighting under Alexander. He was a guy who knew how to turn men into an effective army and proved to be very successful in the campaign in Asia Minor against the Persian Empire.

Track 5. Lesbos.

No tyrants and warriors here and Lesbos is one of the many Greek Isles although according to classical Greek Mythology Lesbos was the patron god of the island. But in Cameron’s book it is seen as the island of beauty and for its wealth and riches.

It’s another great track on the album that has a great upbeat about it with its chugging rhythm on the electric guitar and is accompanied by fine instrumentation throughout, and even features a rather nice organ on this one too.

Track 6. Trireme.

A Trireme is an ancient vessel or ship that was used widely in the Persian wars in which the Greeks won many a battle in them on the seas. The picture below displays a fleet of a modern fleet of Olympias Trireme’s that both the Persians and Greeks would of sanctioned at least 200 of them to be made for a battle.



This is another fine piece that is constructed from the percussion and orchestration that has quite a charm and European flavour about it. Kevin once again manages to work some wonderful acoustic guitar counter melodies around the main melody lines of the orchestrated piece.

Track 7. Marathon.

The final piece on the album is the self titled track “Marathon“. This one happens to be the longest track on the album weighing in at 10 minutes and 7 seconds and is an excellent piece of work and very well constructed composition.

Marathon” without a doubt is very much another very strong contender for the best track on the album. It utilises and blends in the acoustic guitars and mandolins into the orchestration perfectly. It’s a superb way to end off a very enjoyable album too.


The album Marathon by Dun Looser is quite a fine solid body of work and very pleasing album with the well written material that is placed upon it. In a way you could call it a musical concept album made up of individual tracks and titles of them, that portrays the subject matter of Greek Mythology that Christian Cameron wrote in his book Killer Of Men.

Musically the way the album presents itself with the material we have here. It’s perhaps more of a charming and pleasant way to present the battles, rather than one with blood thirsty rage. There is nothing here perhaps heavy enough to put over a fierce battle. But that certainly does not take away anything away from how well the music comes across. There are many splendours to behold in its musical presentation and it’s great use of instrumentation.

The way it’s been orchestrated perhaps gives a contemporary classical feel to it, and the use of the guitars and mandolins gives it that more of a folky or celtic feel and vibe to it. Those latter instruments is where the real magic lies in how well they have been blended into it all. There is no doubt the album has been very well produced too and is certainly quite a splendid and enlightening album too.


To conclude my review of Marathon by Dun Looser. I would say that if your into the likes of Mike Oldfield. Gordon Giltrap and even Celtic music to some extent, this is the type of album that would fit very well in your collection. Though what I will also say that there is not just those influences here, and a lot of it has also come from Kevin Sumner himself, and he has done quite a remarkable job with the music he has presented here. Has debut albums go I honestly cannot fault it.

To be perfectly honest Kevin sent me this album and another one on CD has a good friend, and having heard this particular album it was me who suggested he put it up for sale on Bandcamp and gave him a bit of advice.

The price of 5 Euro is superb value for the money and there is no doubt the quality of the production and the material that’s upon it merits perhaps more than the price tag suggests. That much so that I brought it again. Not only to show my support, but because I genuinely love the album, and music this good needs to be paid for is how I really see it.

Kevin is a really talented musician with a gift. He has learnt a hell of a lot over the many years he has been playing instruments and writing songs and music. The album Marathon reflects a lot of his skills and talents and is a masterful piece of work and a very enjoyable album.

Check it out for yourself. It may just be what you was looking for…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Marathon here : https://dunlooser.bandcamp.com/album/marathon

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Ares. 5:36.
02. Doru. 4:13.
03. Istes. 7:21.
04. Kineas. 5:29.
05. Lesbos. 4:02.
06. Trireme. 4:13.
07. Marathon. 10:07.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #45

Tope’s Sphere 2 – Orange Clocks



Well I suppose I have to thank Dan Lockart for introducing me to this 7 piece band from Northamptonshire in England who go by the name of Orange Clocks, having stumbled upon his post of this concept album in his prog rock group on Facebook. I have to say the story behind the concept of Tope’s Sphere is certainly a most fascinating one, in that it’s based around an idea of a children’s animated series that was destined to be screened on German television back in 1973.

Even more clever is how they have presented the whole thing in the way of a spoof which came from the genius mind of the bands keyboard player Thomas Hunt. To show you exactly what I mean. I have posted Hunt’s own words here in Orange.

Originally devised in 1973 by eccentric producer Tomska R Huntley and destined for German TV, Tope’s Sphere was set to be a ground-breaking animation featuring a live soundtrack by 1970’s UK/Germany supergroup, Klementine Uhren.

The series followed Tope, the knitted monkey protagonist, with his sidekick Chode on their outer-space adventures accompanied by lush layers of psychedelic music. Unfortunately for Tomska, Klementine Uhren were unhappy with the final mixes.

They promptly disappeared with all the tapes for an ‘extended session’, never to be seen again. Tomska was bankrupted and his dreams shattered; he dumped what was left from Tope’s Sphere into a skip and vanished into the depths of the Himalayan mountains.

After the discovery of the fragments of video tape, stage props and art from Tope’s Sphere, Russ Russell (Producer Extraordinaire of Parlour Studios) recruited Orange Clocks to re-imagine the soundtrack, taking what details they could find from the scraps of script rescued from the skip to bring the unique comic-book adventure back to life.

But I suppose the most amazing thing about it all, is the fact that the whole way they have done the actual album, does sound like it came from the 70’s.


 The Band.

The band Orange Clocks have been together for a couple of years now though the 7 band members that make it up have played in many other incarnations and other bands for many hazy years so they say. The band itself consist of the following:

Derek Cotter: (Bass, Vocals)
Tom Hunt: (Synthesiser, Vocals)
Burn: (Drums)
Ja Lee: (Samples and Sounds)
Stuart Paterson: (Guitar)
Martin Winsley: (Vocals, Narration and Percussion)
Dan Merrills: (Guitar)

The Album Review…

The album Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks is the bands debut album and was released on the 3rd of March 2017. For those who are wondering where Tope’s Spear 1 is, there is not one, and my own observation is that they used the number 2 because the first one was done by the spoof band they made up who went by the name of Klementine Uhren. All the material written for the album is credited to the band Orange Clocks.

The album itself contains 20 short tracks that have been all mixed together like 1 track to put across the none stop story they are presenting, and has a total playing time of 30 and half minutes. The concept story behind it all is quite a magical kiddies adventure in space. But done with a bit of adult humour, and is perhaps a bit like a cross between the children’s TV animated series of the Clangers and the radio series of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

The story itself starts off with Tope and his best friend Chode going about their day to day lives on there own planet of Trintar. Having playful fun eating ice creams and flying around in their magical spheres. When all of a sudden they are alerted by an SOS signal. Upon investigating they get ambushed and Tope’s best friend Chode gets kidnapped by the evil Cromp and his cronies. Tope is left with the task to rescue his best friend. However childish the story may appear the band present it in the form of a space rock opera and it’s superbly narrated by the bands Martin Winsley. Adding to the fire is some very well crafted music and songs that make the whole thing that more enjoyable.

Though album mainly consists of short tracks some of the more lengthier tracks are more song based and the highlights are “Trouble With Chode“. “Darkside“. “Magical Fields“. “Big Track” and the band even end the album off with the very well crafted “Theme from Tope’s Sphere“. Though even a 50 second track can contain quite a bit of a magic song with the likes of track 15 entitled “Stromp’s Stomp” which sees the band sounding like the 70’s popular glam rock band The Sweet. The band describe their genre of being Cosmic Psychedelic Space Rock and to a degree one may think around the lines of Gong’s album The Flying Teapot for its madness but there quite a lot of other great styles to their music including the likes of Pink Floyd and many others.


Orange Clocks Live

The band Orange Clocks have even taken the album to the stage and are performing the whole album live in its entirety. That’s something I would love to see myself if they ever come and play in my own town of Birmingham. But for now they are mainly playing around their own town.


Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks is quite a remarkable album and solid body of work the band have put together. Even though the concept of the story may sound a bit childish or daft I have to say it’s quite an addictive and very strong concept album that holds up very well and is well worthy of adding to my record collection. That much so that I just had to have the physical CD.


The album was released by Bad Elephant Music and can be had from Bandcamp in the form of either a digital download for the price of £3.50 or a physical CD in a cardboard gate-fold sleeve as shown in the picture above for £7. Peanuts to pay whichever format you decide to choose and comes with a quality production for its price tag too.


To round up my review of Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks. I would say that band have made a very exciting and very enjoyable album that may be short over its 30 minute time slot, but you will get hours of quality enjoyment out of it and it will even have you sticking it back on immediately for further spins. They come up with a real winner here and I shall be looking forward to see what the band will come up with next.

He’s One In A Million…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Tope’s Spear 2 here : https://orangeclocks.bandcamp.com/album/topes-sphere-2

The track listing of the album is as follows:

01. Tope’s Sphere Intro (Original Recording). 0:31
02. Just Kickin’ Back. 2:01
03. Fun In The Stars. 1:00
04. SOS. 1:30
05. Unknown Planet. 0:55
06. Ambush. 1:53
07. Sphere Malfunction. 0:53
08. Trouble With Chode. 2:12
09. Tope’s Hope. 0:30
10. Darkside. 3:03
11. Magical Fields. 3:45
12. Cogs, Brackets and Chains. 0:42
13. Big Track. 2:49
14. A Father’s Return. 0:59
15. Stromp’s Stomp. 0:50
16. Chode’s Down. 0:43
17. March of the Psilicybins. 1:37
18. Out of the Aether. 1:05
19. Utopean Dream. 0:55
20. Theme from Tope’s Sphere. 2:28

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.