Israeli & Middle Eastern Progressive CDs

Titles are arranged alphabetically.

Bader Nana - WormwoodBader Nana - Wormwood ($13.99)Add to Shopping Cart   Bader Nana audio clips

Wormwood (58-minutes), the debut for Kuwait City-based Lebanese musician Bader Nana, was released as a digital download in 2011 and on this MALS label CD in 2012. The music is dark progressive rock/metal in a Dream Theater and Spockís Beard vein. Read the DPRP and Progplanet reviews.

Blackfield (see Page 2)

Hot Fur - sameHot Fur - Hot Fur ($14.99)Add to Shopping Cart

Despite the less-than-promising band name and album cover, this is an excellent album of progressive music from an Israeli musical-theatrical ensemble founded by guitarist/composer Lior Frenkel. This is their first album, recorded in 1998, remixed and remastered for this 2005 Musea CD with extra tracks added. Hot Furís music is difficult to compare to other bands. It is somewhere between progressive rock, jazz, and experimental music, heavily instrumental but with some beautiful female vocals, male vocals and spoken word, all in Hebrew, though all the liner notes are in English. There is a strong Canterbury element, especially Hatfield and the North. The playing is precise and intricate but the music is not inaccessible. Quite the contrary, the melodies make it easy to get into. Zappa lovers will appreciate Hot Furís lively rhythms and humor, but these compositions are original and unique. Everything is highly-arranged and doesnít rely on improvisation (except for one of the extra tracks, which is the only pure jazz-rock track on the CD). The band includes guitars, keys, woodwinds, trumpet, bass and drums. High marks to Hot Fur for making such original progressive rock while retaining melody, lyricism, and beauty.

Igayon - To GoIgayon - To Go ($13.99)Add to Shopping Cart

To Go (2010) is the excellent debut CD by Israeli progressive rock band Igayon, formed by keyboardist Itay Oren and singer-songwriter Nir Utmazgin. The band is completed by a guitarist and bassist, with three of the four members singing, while drum duties on the CD are split between two guests. Other guests contribute violin and more vocals. Igayonís brand of prog rock has a lush ambience and is strongly melodic, generally warm and sensitive, even cinematic. Removed from the western cultural mainstream, they have something special in their approach, terroir as applied to music. The lyrics and 16-page booklet are in Hebrew, but our copies of the CD come with a 4-page insert containing all the lyrics and album information in English. Listen to To Go, Man, and Vortex. ďThe first half of To Go displays a very atmospheric music approaching 21st century Marillion, e.g., Somewhere Else or Happiness Is the Road. The compositions are pleasing, with simple but effective accompaniments... The second half of the album is more varied, sometimes departing from the dominant atmospheric style... With repeated listens, this album gradually reveals its emotions of happiness and hope, despite not being able to understand the lyrics, indicating the music has accomplished its goal. Putting aside some minor flaws, we are faced with a successful debut album, heralding a golden future for Igayon.Ē [ (translated badly from French, with great liberties taken)] Read the Prognaut review.

Osiris - Visions from the PastOsiris - Tales of the DiversOsiris - Tales of the Divers ($14.99)Add to Shopping Cart   Osiris - "Tales of the Divers" audio clips

Osiris - Visions from the Past ($14.99)Add to Shopping Cart

Osiris - Myths & Legends mini-LP ($14.99)Add to Shopping Cart

Osiris - Myths & LegendsOsiris are a progressive rock band from the tiny Arab emirate of Bahrain; some of the musicians attended university in the U.S. Their music is closest to Camel, and they sing in English, though the music is heavily instrumental. They published two LPs in the 1980s: Osiris (1982) and Myths & Legends (1984), later reissued on CD by Musea, with one bonus track on Myths & Legends. This mini-LP edition of Myths & Legends is the 2011 MALS edition, released under license from Musea; it comes in a heavyweight cardboard sleeve. Osiris recorded their third studio album Reflections between 1987-1989.

It was a long wait for Visions from the Past (2007). This is a concept album about an old man who rejects the modern Bahrain and mourns the loss of the innocent and simple ways of the past. This is Osirisís most original album and probably their best, as Camel is now just one of several influences, and no one influence stands out. Most of the music has the refinement and tastefulness of 1970s progressive rock, and one song sports some strong early Marillion influence. What vocals there are are still in English, but here Osiris use some traditional Gulf Arabic poetry (English translations in the booklet) and occasional Arabic rhythms and traditional instruments to put their own stamp on things. The recording quality may be a notch below western pro standards; nevertheless this is brilliant melodic progressive rock vaguely in the Camel and Genesis vein.

Tales of the Divers (2010) was recorded live in 1985, but none of the material appears on any studio album. In fact, it is a complete concept album from the bandís heyday, and Visions from the Past is the sequel to this. The style of the two albums is similar, Camel-style prog with Arabic flavors that were not apparent on their first three albums. Osiris spent much effort remastering the live recording so that it sounds quite good. Read reviews at Prog Archives.

Soul Enema - Thin Ice CrawlingSoul Enema - Thin Ice Crawling ($13.99)Add to Shopping Cart   Soul Enema audio clips

This is the 2010 debut CD by an Israeli band who move back and forth between symphonic prog and prog-metal. The band is lead by keyboardist Constantin Glantz, so though there is frequent heavy guitar, the sound is very symphonic. They have a very good female lead singer. There is at times a somewhat theatrical delivery to the vocals that gives Soul Enema a unique identity, a slight rock opera feel. Mini-LP style sleeve, 67-minutes. Read the Sea of Tranquility, DPRP, and Proggnosis reviews.

Sympozion - KundabufferSympozion - Kundabuffer ($9.99)Add to Shopping Cart   Sympozion mp3 clips  Sympozion audio clips

This young Israeli quintet has produced a debut album of stunning quality. Mostly instrumental, Kundabuffer (2006) is in Gentle Giant, Canterbury, and Zappa territory, but highly original. It is complex symphonic prog with most of the keyboard work done on piano, but it remains melodic and not particularly Ďdifficultí. Rather, itís fun to listen to. The intricate guitar work varies from relatively clean jazz tones to an incisive electric lead tone that may remind the listener of Fireballet and other 70s prog bands. While not overtly Gentle Giant-ish, there is a lot of melodic counterpoint, and two of the band members play recorders at times. Thanks to the Canadian Unicorn Digital label for re-releasing this outstanding album after an initial release by the band.

Zingale - The Bright SideZingale - The Bright Side ($12.99)Add to Shopping Cart   Zingale audio clips

Zingale are the most famous Israeli progressive rock band; their album Peace (recorded in 1975, released in 1977) is usually considered to be the best progressive rock album to have come out of that admittedly small scene. The Bright Side (57-minutes) is their 2009 comeback CD. Zingale now are founding members Ephraim Barak and Udi Tamir, both playing electric guitar, bass and keyboards as well as singing (in English), with a new drummer. There was some Yes influence on Peace and there is even more on The Bright Side, but Zingaleís sound has changed, now more modern sounding, more reliant on synths, with a lot of sonic elements competing for space in the mix. Musically and spiritually though, Zingale still have their hearts in the 1970s. The CD comes in a simple printed cardboard jacket (no booklet).