I really had not spent a lot of time considering Poland as a hotbed of musical creativity. In my historically challenged world it is the home of Lech Walesa, and not much else. Well it transpires that Poland is more than just the heartland of the worker revolution, it is the heart of Progressive Rock (Prog Rock in the trade). Prog Rock was very much a part of the British music scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There were so many stars shining in this period that Prog Rock looked like the night sky.

In the 90’s, partly due to the emergence of Rap, many Prog Rock bands found themselves out in the cold. I have to admit that I have never been able to figure out what the Rap attraction was, or is. While Prog Rock may assault the ears on occasions, it never insults the intelligence.

I fell out of the music scene for many years, yes I still listened, but I tended to only seek out the artists that were tried and tested. This year I decided to ‘boldly go where no sane person should go’, I ventured (or maybe I was pushed), back into the world of Prog Rock. Gone were the icons from my time, but I did find a young and vibrant environment. The names may have changed, but the genre lives on in style.

Many of the artists are British, but the heart of the movement seems to be in Poland. To be exact, Metal Mind Productions, who are based in Katowice, Poland. Metal Mind have found a niche, and more importantly have found a way to promote and nurture this fine musical style.

Based on the quality of the DVD’s I have seen, the Prog Rock movement is alive and well. In some ways what is always changing stays the same. In the 70’s the big prog rock proponents were bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and maybe even Jethro Tull. These bands redefined the music industry. Gone was the 3.5 minute song that is ‘Verse, Chorus’ repeated three times. In its place were gloriously self indulgent guitar and drum solo’s, and great sweeping vocals.

Over the past couple of weeks I have listened to cd’s from Pendragon, Neo, and Andromeda. All of which came out of Katowice. And I have to admit I was very impressed with all three. Neo and Pendragon while having distinctively different sounds actually share a number of the performers. This I found a little confusing when I watched the DVD’s, “Boy that looks just like the guy in the other band!”

One of the best things about being a reviewer is that you never know what is going to happen next, and as luck would have it I received a message from Drazen Djordjevic who is Andomeda’s webmaster and Lead guitarist of Masque of Betrayal. According to Drazen Masque is currently working on a demo CD, and I am looking forward to listening to it.

So folks, as you can plainly see, if Prog Rock is your bag, Katowice, Poland should be on your list of places to visit. 

Simon Barrett


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