Between A Rock And A Prog Place: Is ROGER DEAN The Ultimate Prog Album Cover Artist?
November 5, 2020, a month ago
What truly is progressive music? Each month BraveWords will aim to dissect that answer with a thorough overview of the current musical climate that is the prog world. Old and new, borrowed and blue. A musical community without borders. So watch for a steady and spaced-out array of features, current news and a buyer’s guide checklist to enhance the forward-thinking musical mind. So, welcome to BraveWords' monthly column appropriately titled, Between A Rock In A Prog Place.
Longtime prog fans may have recognized a certain “familiarity” concerning the album cover artwork of the Flower Kings’ latest LP, Islands. And there’s a good reason…it was created by none other than Mr. Roger Dean – the same chap responsible for some of most classic Yes album covers (including Fragile, Tales From Topographic Oceans, and Relayer)! Here, Flower Kings’ Roine Stolt discusses if Roger Dean is the ultimate prog rock album cover artist.
“I suppose he is, because he is so tightly connected with Yes. And Yes – for me – I think is thought of as the pinnacle of all things prog-rock. Even if bands like King Crimson were probably proggier in the very beginning when they came out with their first album, Yes was almost a pop band at the time. And Genesis were big and became a much bigger band – but then they had already left the prog style, and were more like a pop group. So, Roger Dean did so many albums for Yes and Steve Howe. He’s so connected to Yes. He did stuff for Gentle Giant, too, and for bands like Badger, Greenslade, Uriah Heep, etcetera. I suppose you could say he is the biggest artist within progressive rock artwork. Absolutely. When the record company suggested we talk about having him doing the artwork for the Flower Kings, I think the first thing I said was, ‘Maybe he’s too tightly connected to Yes music, and maybe it would be weird having artwork.’ But then they talked me into it, and I talked to Roger, and everything fell into place nicely. So, looking at it now, I’m glad we went that way, actually.”
Between A Rock And A Prog Place News Blast
Last month, Ad Infinitum offered a virtual concert for fans, which can be streamed here, and have announced European live dates for February (as part of the Symphonic Power Alliance Tour, with Serenity, Masters Of Ceremony, and Victorius) and September/October (with Visions Of Atlantis, Ye Banished Privateers, and Dragony). The Quantum Enigma B-Sides by Epica was recently made available on all stream platforms, and the band will be releasing a new studio album, Omega, in February (check out its lead-off single/video “Abyss of Time”) – which will be supported by live dates in March/April throughout Europe (with Apocalyptica and Wheel also on the bill). Sons Of Apollo/Trans-Siberian Orchestra/Journey/Yngwie vocalist Jeff Scott Soto released his seventh solo album this month – and it includes a bonus live album recorded at Frontiers Rock Festival in 2019. Keyboard-heavy prog vets American Tears issued their latest album last month, Free Angel Express – limited editions bundles can be purchased here.
On November 1, Finnish folk metallists Korpiklaani started selling a beard oil (in collaboration with Partawa and Mad Viking Finland) called Korven Kyynel (“tear of the wilderness”) – a portion of each sale will be donated to Sylva, a charity that supports children and youth fighting cancer, and will be sold via the online stores of Partawa and Korpiklaani. Additionally, the band will be releasing a new album, Jylhä, in February (for which its lead-off single/video, “Leväluhta,” can be heard/viewed here.
The instrumental prog outfit, Intervals, will be releasing their fourth full-length overall, Circadian, on November 13, and the single, “5-HTP,” can be heard here. Six-piece progressive metal outfit Aviations are in the process of issuing various videos to promote their new EP, Retrospect (which sees the group re-visit songs from earlier in their career) – the first of which is a playthrough video for ‘Nineties Nine Ties,’ which can be watched here.
Proggy Dutch trio Our Oceans recently shared their new single, “The Heart’s Whisper” – the second single taken from their forthcoming album, While Time Disappears, which will drop on November 27. Neal Morse will be issuing a new live album and DVD/Blu-ray next month, Live at Morsefest 2018, which can be pre-ordered here. Swedish metallists Majestica will be issuing a “Christmas musical power metal” album, entitled A Christmas Carol next month, which can be pre-ordered here.
Also next month, prog metallists Blind Guardian will be issuing a 25th-anniversary edition of their popular Imaginations From The Other Side LP, which is available for pre-order. Sadly, for the first time in 20 years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra will not be able to take their popular holiday-themed show on the road. But…TSO will bring a performance right into fans’ homes with the world premiere of its first-ever livestream event, Christmas Eve And Other Stories Live In Concert, on Friday, December 18 – for which tickets for this event can be purchased via the band’s site.
November New Albums
November 6th, 2020:
Eternal Idol – Renaissance (Frontiers)
Angelica – All I Am (Frontiers)
Lords Of Black – Alchemy Of Souls, Pt. I (Frontiers)
Jeff Scott Soto – Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
Eclipse – Viva La Victouria (Frontiers)
November 13th, 2020:
Intervals – Circadian (Bandcamp)
Katla – Allt þetta helvítis myrkur (Bandcamp)
Pyramaze – Epitaph (AFM)
November 20th, 2020:
Aviations – Retrospect (Bandcamp)
November 27th, 2020:
Dream Theater - Distant Memories: Live in London (InsideOut)
Our Oceans – While Time Disappears (Long Branch)
Why not a clip this month from what is undoubtedly Roger Dean’s favorite prog band…Yes! Here are the lads performing “Yours Is No Disgrace” from 1971 (with Bill Bruford of drums and Tony Kaye on keys, and an artsy-fartsy spinning head located above a chair).