Progtopia Archives

Muskegon, Michigan duo The Omega Experiment (Dan Wieten [guitar, bass, vocals] and Ryan Aldridge [keyboards]) isn’t the first band to write about their struggles with drugs, but with their self-titled debut album, they certainly take their listeners on a unique journey through the depths of addiction and loss to emerge on the other side with hope for the future. Yes, anger is an ever-present emotion, but so is bliss, much like the real-life roller coaster of substance abuse and sobriety. Having received high praise from the likes of Devin Townsend, The Omega Experiment are poised to be another of those unsigned bands that you can’t believe doesn’t yet have the backing of a record label. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Wieten about his past with drugs, translating that experience into a concept album, the friends he enlisted to help along the way, and how cool it is to create a professional-sounding recording in your bedroom. Look for their music on the web at http://theomegaexperiment.bandcamp.com, http://theomegaexperiment.bigcartel.com, on Facebook, and on MySpace.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
“Gift”
“Stimulus”
“Furor”
“Karma”
“Paramount”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs by The Omega Experiment and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

(originally posted 27 July 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_013_The_Sound_and_the_Furor_of_the_Omega_Experiment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

With the release of their new album Nine, Norwegian metal powerhouse Circus Maximus returns with their first collection of songs in five years, and with the massive critical acclaim it’s been getting, Progtopia is fortunate to be able to profile them in this episode. Band members Mats Haugen (guitar), Glen Møllen (bass), Michael Eriksen (vocals), Truls Haugen (drums), and Lasse Finbråten (keyboards) have produced a collection of songs that range from short, introductory mood setters; to radio-friendly tunes; to ten-minute epics, all of which are so good it was truly difficult to decide which ones to include here. Host Mark Ashby caught up with singer Eriksen in the midst of a host of his other media requests to talk about the history of the group, the approach to writing the new album, his brief stint filling in with Kamelot on tour, and what the band enjoys doing in their free time. They’re on the web at www.circusmaximussite.com, as well as Facebook and MySpace.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Forging/Architect of Fortune”
“Alive”
“Namaste”
“Game of Life”
“Reach Within”
“Burn After Reading”
“The One”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net, and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs by Circus Maximus and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

(Originall posted 14 July 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_012_Circus_Maximus_Plays_the_Game_of_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

It’s back to Hamburg, Germany, for this installment of Progtopia, where we visit with the prog-metal quintet AtmOsfear. Having recorded three albums to date – their self-titled EP from 1997, Inside the Atmosphere from 2003, and Zenith in 2009 – the band has been favorably compared to the biggest names in the genre and has even performed as the opening act for some of them, including Evergrey, Pain of Salvation, and Vanden Plas. Members (l. to r.) Burkhart Heberle (bass), Boris Stepanow (guitar), Oliver Wulff (vocals), Stephan Kruse (keyboards), and Tim Schnabel (drums) are still rehearsing and writing together, which is when host Mark Ashby spoke to them for this show. You’ll hear them speak about why there have been six years between each album release so far, the reasons for some of their more daring titles (they’re not just for shock value), and how file sharing particularly hurts bands like them. You can visit them on the web at www.atmosfear.net – where you can listen to all their music and download their EP for free.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Courage of Despair”
“Eleanor Rigby”
“Circumcision”
“Spiral of Pain”
“Loss of Hope”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by AtmOsfear and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

(originally posted 23 June 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_011_To_the_Zenith_of_the_AtmOsfear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52pm EST

Plenty of famous and not-so-famous prog rock bands have done instrumental songs here and there on their albums, but very few bands have eschewed the use of a vocalist altogether. The Annapolis, Maryland-based foursome Contra (Alex Peters [guitar], Charles Rupertus [bass], Matt Baros [keyboards], and Brandon Wildman [drums]) have been going without a singer since their inception as a jam band a few years ago, and they’ve created two concept albums – The Epic… from 2010, a Tolkien-esque fantasy tale – and Blue Planet Chronicles, released on June 15th. The unique sound the band creates through swirling guitar arpeggios, dynamic percussion, and atmospheric accompaniment envelops listeners and allows them to envision whatever worlds they can imagine. Host Mark Ashby, a fellow Marylander, spoke with drummer Wildman about the beginnings of the band, the challenges in conveying a story concept without any lyrics to guide the listener, and the – in his words – nerdiness that is a key factor in his creativity, as well as much more. You can find the band online on Facebook (www.facebook.com/contratheband) and MySpace (www.myspace.com/contratheband).

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Primordial”
“Eternal Dawn”
“A Tale of Deception”
“Ice Age”
“Ad Infinitum”
“Fate of Man”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by hundreds of bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

(originally posted 12 June 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_010_Contra_Theyre_Pros.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EST

Some bands come together as family affairs – the Allman Brothers, Van Halen, Oasis – and so is the group featured in this installment of Progtopia, Unwritten Pages. The Epe family (guitar- and keyboard-playing and singing brothers Frederic and Michel, along with their father Lothar) have teamed with various other musicians on their two albums, Noah Pt. 1 (2010) on ProgRock Records and the just-released Fringe Kitchen on their own Turricane label. Their debut was a five-years-in-the-making concept album, but the new CD is a straightforward prog metal showcase, with Ark’s John Macaluso on drums, Sander Stappers on bass, and British guitarist James Cook filling out the lineup. In an interview with Fred and Jim, host Mark Ashby asks about the creative forces that drive them, why the band chose to debut with a double album, the challenges and rewards of running one’s own label, and Jim’s solo instrumental project Miroist. Unwritten Pages' website is www.unwrittenpages.com, and you can find Miroist’s three-song EP The Pledge at http://miroist.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Asylum Tragedy”
“Blowing Red Ashes Pt. 2”
“Unexpected Twists & Turns”
“Terminal Defect”
“i. Non decipies me, fortuna” (Miroist)
“Auxiliary Influx”
“Intoxicating Sweets”
“iii. He had been old in the beginning; but he was saved” (Miroist)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by Unwritten Pages and hundreds of other bands. Thanks for listening!

(Originally posted 2 June 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_009_In_the_Fringe_Kitchen_with_Unwritten_Pages_and_Miroist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34pm EST

It's not often that a band can take over a decade off and come back stronger than ever, but with the April 2012 release of their third album Anhedonia, Australian metal band Teramaze has done just that. With driving instrumentation, intricate rhythm work, and adrenaline-pumping vocals, the group (Dean Wells [guitar/backing vocals], Mathew Dawson [guitar], Dean Kennedy [drums], Tijon Lolis [bass], and Brett Rerekura [vocals]) has brought their brand of progressive metal to the rest of the world via Nightmare Records. In this episode of Progtopia, host Mark Ashby speaks with Wells and Lolis about the new album and accompanying video for the title track, what the reason was for such a long hiatus, live gigs in support of bands like Arch Enemy, and the legacy left by their late drummer Julian Percy. Visit the band's website http://teramaze.com.au or the label's website at www.nightmarerecords.com for more information and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Proverb Le Jame"
"Shadows"
"Anhedonia"
"Through the Madness"
"Fear of the Unknown"
"Black Circles"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by Teramaze and hundreds of other bands.

(Originally posted 22 May 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_008_Through_the_Madness_of_Teramaze.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EST

1