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Episode 119 : Iris Divine Takes Back the Fall
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October 16, 2017 01:59 PM PDT
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Despite being separate by a time zone or two for most of the year between Virginia and Colorado, the members of Iris Divine (Kris Combs [drums and keyboards], Navid Rashid [guitar and vocals], and Brian Dobbs [bass]) are a healthy, happy prog metal trio that is continuing to gain fans and favorable critical reception. Their second, crowdfunded album The Static and the Noise was released in early October, and their sound has evolved since debut effort Karma Sown to become simultaneously more technical and more melodic when both approaches are needed. Making a repeat appearance on the show, Combs chatted with host Mark Ashby about how the recording and writing for the second album required open communication over such long distances when they couldn't jam together, why they've so far stayed away from long, so-called "epic" albums and songs, and why his and Navid's differing personalities combine so well on record and in life. They're online at www.irisdivineband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Acolyte"
"The Static and the Noise"
"Taking Back the Fall"
"We All Dissolve"
"Like Glass"
"Catalyst"

To hear the previous episode featuring Iris Divine, follow this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-076-sowing-karma-with-iris-divine

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 118 : Through the Snow Country with District 97
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October 01, 2017 09:17 PM PDT
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They're a Chicago-based band with an American Idol for a singer, but trust us: District 97 is as prog as they come. With three studio albums under their belts, the group (l. to r. Jonathan Schang [drums], Tim Seisser [bass], Leslie Hunt [vocals], Jim Tashjian [guitar], and Andrew Lawrence [keyboards]) has been critically-acclaimed by the likes of Bill Bruford and John Wetton, with whom they collaborated on their own songs and classic King Crimson material. They're setting out this October on the Static Vaults tour with their friend Dave Kerzner and his band, so host Mark Ashby caught up with Schang for a discussion about that Idol connection, how the band has moved from being largely made up of his compositions to a group effort, and how Wetton impacted them in many ways. Find the tour dates online at www.district97.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Snow Country"
"All's Well That Ends Well"
"The Perfect Young Man" (featuring John Wetton)
"On Paper"
"Death by a Thousand Cuts"
"The Thief"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 117 : Anubis Gate Goes Black, Blacker, Blackest
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September 18, 2017 10:11 PM PDT
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They were our first featured band ever. They gifted us with a world premiere a couple of years later. Of course we love Denmark's Anubis Gate, and so do tens of thousands of other prog metal fans the world over. Through three changes in lead vocalists, the band currently consists of (l. to r.) Morten Gade Sørensen (drums), Michael Bodin (guitars), Henrik Fevre (bass, vocals), and Kim Olesen (guitars, keyboards), and their newest album Covered in Black is a descent into some even heavier territory than they've gone through in the past -- call it the analogue to Pink Floyd's Animals album. With subject matter inspired by Olesen's personal struggles, it's perhaps the most intimate Anubis Gate album yet. You'll hear Olesen discuss those inner demons and his rise above them, the Orbits box set which came to fruition in 2016, and some possible new directions the band might want to investigate. They can be found on the web at www.anubisgate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Too Much Time"
"The Combat"
"Hear My Call"
"Black"
"Operation Cairo"
"Psychotopia"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 116 : Vangough and the Tale of the Black Rabbit
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August 28, 2017 03:00 AM PDT
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In the heart of Tornado Alley in the United States, a trio named after a mentally-ill Dutch painter has been creating quite a few storms of their own for nearly a decade. Oklahoma City-based Vangough is comprised of (l. to r.) Jeren Martin on bass, Clay Withrow on guitar and vocals, and Kyle Haws on drums, and their latest album Warpaint was released back in March of this year. With elements of Tool and Opeth, they've crafted a gritty, down-to-earth brand of progressive metal that has gotten them supporting slots for Fates Warning and Pain of Salvation. Host Mark Ashby talked with Withrow about the reasons behind the band's name and altered spelling, where musical inspiration comes from, why rabbits are such an important part of his creativity and life in general, and why they might leave the album format behind with forthcoming releases. They can be found on the web at www.officialvangough.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Morphine"
"Black Rabbit"
"Christmas Scars"
"Schizophrenia"
"Dust"
"Knell"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 115 : Spare Some Love for Annie Haslam
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August 15, 2017 09:41 PM PDT
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In a Brazilian artist's depiction of progressive music's Last Supper, among the likes of Ian Anderson and Roger Waters, the placid figure at the center of it all is the owner of perhaps the most soaring voice in the genre: Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Since the early 70s, Haslam and the band have been delighting audiences with their brand of symphonic rock that features her five-octave vocal range. While still an active musician who will be touring with the band this autumn, Haslam has branched out into the visual arts, as well. Host Mark Ashby speaks about those endeavors as well as the process of adding a 10-piece chamber orchestra to four dates on the upcoming eastern US jaunt, what advice she gives younger musicians, and the recent moment in Rio de Janeiro that nearly brought her to tears on-stage. Visit her and the band online at www.renaissancetouring.com and www.anniehaslam.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Can You Understand?"
"Spare Some Love"
"Mother Russia"
"At the Harbour"
"Turn of the Century" (w/Steve Howe)
"Going Home"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 114 : Illuminating the Sky with Prospekt
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July 26, 2017 09:05 PM PDT
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They're a UK band that spells their name in a Russian way, but make no mistake: Prospekt is full-on progressive metal that is neither formulaic nor derivative. With their second album The Illuminated Sky just released, band members Lee Luland (guitars), Rox Capriotti (keyboards), Phil Wicker (bass), Black Richardson (drums), and Michael Morris (vocals) have crafted a science-fictional framework to guide the ten songs within it. Luland speaks with host Mark Ashby about influences ranging from Dream Theater to John Williams, the changes in personnel and style between albums 1 and 2, and how he got one of his favorite artists to do a guest spot on the new album. Catch up with them on social media at www.facebook.com/ProspektUK.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Ex Nihilo"
"Akaibara"
"Dissident Priests"
"Alien Makers of Discord"
"The Illuminated Sky"
"Beneath Enriya"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Progtopia Planetary Premiere 12 July 2017 : Soul Secret - "Entering the City of Gods"
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July 12, 2017 07:23 AM PDT
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Two years ago, when Soul Secret keyboardist and story-writer Luca Di Gennaro was last on Progtopia, host Mark Ashby asked him (off-air) if the band would be willing to provide an exclusive track for a world premiere when their next album would be released. Di Gennaro agreed, and now we know he is an honest man. In this episode, you'll get a listen to a song from their upcoming conceptual work Babel, due for release on 28 July. The early-prog enthusiast also talks about why he prefers the focus of writing to a concept, the philosophical and literary bases for Babel, and their performance this weekend in support of Mike Portnoy at the Night of the Prog Festival. They can be found online at www.soulsecret.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Newton's Law"
"Awakened by the Light"
"What We're All About"
"Entering the City of Gods"
"Will They?"

To hear the previous two episodes featuring Soul Secret, click these links:
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-006-getting-closer-to-daylight-with-soul-secret (2012)
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-071-climbing-the-white-stairs-with-soul-secret (2015)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 113 : In Equilibrium with Nicolas Waldo
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June 23, 2017 09:27 PM PDT
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The air guitar was invented because of musicians like Bogotá, Colombia's Nicolas Waldo. With blisteringly-fast technique that has gotten him compared to John Petrucci and Joe Satriani, Waldo has released several solo albums showcasing his shredding style that is still firmly rooted in progressive elements. With the recent releases of his solo album Equilibrium and band project Energema's The Lion's Forces (based on the Chronicles of Narnia), Waldo has been busy this spring. Host Mark Ashby speaks with him about how long it took him to practice to become this fast, his work as a guitar teacher and who can train with him, and which guitarist he'd most like to share a stage with. Waldo's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/nicolaswaldo/.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Mirror of Madness"
"The Final Code"
"Multiverse"
"Equilibrium"
"Ancient Rebellion" (Energema)
"Mystic Fingers"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 112 : Quietly Storming with Galahad
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June 02, 2017 10:06 PM PDT
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Thirty-two years in the business, and still going through the changes in personnel, the ups and downs in the sizes of prog audiences, and all the creative challenges that come with that sort of longevity, Galahad are true survivors. Owing much of their early sound to Gabriel-era Genesis and 70s Yes, they've since carved out their own personality, which often includes extensive reworkings and reimaginings of their past tracks. Some of that is on display on their latest release, Quiet Storms, which also contains several new songs with a more contemplative feel overall. Host Mark Ashby chatted with singer Stu Nicholson about the inspiration he draws from a band that is very different from them -- Rammstein -- changes in guitarists, and why certain tracks might be more logical for reworkings than others. They're on the web at www.galahadonline.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Melt"
"Don't Lose Control"
"Mein Herz Brennt"
"Guardian Angel (Hybrid)"
"Weightless"
"Marz (and Beyond)"
"Termination"

To hear the previous episode featuring Galahad, click this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-024-galahad-battle-scarred-but-euphoric

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 111 : Riding the Ghost Mile with Voyager
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May 21, 2017 07:30 PM PDT
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"This is real cream!" So says a YouTube commenter about the music of Perth, Australia's Voyager (Simone Dow, guitar; Ashley Doodkorte, drums; Danny Estrin, vocals and keyboards; Scott Kay, guitar; and Alex Canion, bass and backing vocals). Seems as good of a description as any of the powerful (and tasty) blend of metal, pop, and prog that they've been banging out for six albums now. The most recent of those, Ghost Mile, is just out, and host Mark Ashby catches up once again with Canion about the crowds they've been playing for, including in their hometown, how it's possible to be close friends and still make a band work together without either suffering, and if djent is an appropriate word to apply to them. Visit www.voyager-australia.com for more information.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Disconnected"
"Misery Is Only Company"
"Ghost Mile"
"As the City Takes the Night"
"Lifeline"
"What a Wonderful Day"

To hear previous episodes featuring Voyager, click these links: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-051-breaking-down-voyager
and
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/backstage-pass-4-progpower-usa-xvi-retrospective

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

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