Reviews roundup ~ Unquiet Music Ltd ~ Raven Sad ~ Johnny O’Neil ~ Sinful Way

A Prayer For Our Times: In The Name Of …

Unquiet Music Ltd

JP Rossi who is Unquiet Music Ltd says: “The form is a musical mandala in four pieces, based on the traditional prayer In the name of the father…. The music should really be considered as a single piece, a prayer, a vessel to be embarked in a travel through our modest but also ambitious condition”. So I’m glad that’s cleared up.

For the sake of a quiet life I’m going to assume that Rossi had something to do with the writing of the music. There’s no composer credits on the CD and he’s not listed as one of the 14 contributing musicians. Unless, of course, he himself is an abstract concept conceived by the participants. Which is possible. Certainly, in among those 14 names you’ll find Markus Reuter (who also produced) and Trey Gunn so it’s not a tremendous surprise to click play and head off into a world of experimental noise. A lot of it is rooted in the world of more out there prog rock so Discipline era King Crimson fans won’t find themselves rudderless.

Rossi (if he exists) reckons the music acts as one continuous piece so it seemed only fair to slap on the headphones and lie back. And it works well in that manner. It’s certainly not something you’re going to whap on while whipping up a soufflé. On the downside I did doze off somewhere around ‘The Temptation of Time (A Mosaic Return)’. But then I am a notorious insomniac so I still count that as a win. Second time around I kept my eyes open.

Apparently the music developed over a couple of years as he converted his dreams into audio and it’s reflected in the avant garde structure of many of the pieces. There’s lots of looping and dark electronica in there as well so I’m guessing they weren’t all dreams of kittens and rainbows. The discordant rhythms that crop up hither and thither would support that. It’s a dense recording project with so much going on in the background that you really do need to pay attention but fans of chamber prog would do well to point themselves this way.

The Leaf And The Wing

Lizard Records

Some very nineties sounding progressive rock now. This time from Italy.

Which makes sense as I see that Raven Sad were originally around from 2005, releasing a couple of albums before splitting in 2012. But now founding guitarist Samuele Santanna has put together another lineup for another go.

It’s second generation Marillion that immediately springs to mind. Which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. The music has that slightly dark and weighty feel to it while the vocals and melodies bring some light to proceedings.

“The Leaf And The Wing” doesn’t grab you straight from the off but by the time you’re half way through it suddenly dawns on you how much you’re enjoying it. Which came as a nice surprise. There is some great guitar work but it’s the keyboards that really help push this into the realms of the very good. After a short intro they head straight off into the slow, ten minute ‘The Sadness of the Raven’ but it’s somewhere around the middle of ‘Approaching the Chaos’ that you find the sweet spot that really draws you in. They’re not shy about letting the music breath

‘Ride The Tempest’ was probably my favourite but it’s rapidly turned into one of those late night records that involve whisky and watching the sun set. I don’t know what they were like first time around but this is definitely a record that neo-prog fans will enjoy.

Truth Or Dare


Here’s a fella who was in a band who opened for Kiss on the Creatures of the Night tour. No? Ask yer granda / smell yer grandma.

Johnny O’Neill is the chap in question and for many decades was in a band called Dare Force who were a ‘thing’ in Minnesota. They released three records as well as opening for Kiss, Ted Nugent, Triumph, Ratt, UFO and many others. In a neat twist this solo debut from O’Neill features Danny Peyronel on a few tunes. You know, the fella who was in UFO before Paul Raymond arrived.

And it’s safe to say that the eighties are where it’s at with Mr O’Neill. Which means it’s chock full of chunky riffs, strong melodies, choruses you can sing along to and more than a few moments where you’ll be twirling your scarves and jangling your bracelets. And that’s the blokes. I’m guessing he’s one of the many musicians for whom the die didn’t roll back in the day as he’s a good singer and a really good guitarist. He plays lead, slide, acoustic and bass here. The songs are strong as well and just as good, if not better, than many a band who briefly hit platinum back in the day. I’m looking at you, L.A. Guns.

The lead track here is ‘Snake in the Grass’ but it’s actually not the best song on offer. ‘Comin’ for You’ which follows is miles better and is the sort of thing that lends itself to some audience participation. The one thing that holds me back from DEMANDING that all fans of eighties rawk buy this is that two of the nine tracks are instrumentals. Which is cheating. And one of the seven remaining is a fudging Beatles cover. [groans]. But the six fully realised songs are excellent and if they’d comprised a mini-album I would be whooping and a hollering with pleasure. Well, maybe not. Not with my back.

But ‘Tell Me What You Think You Know’ has some real swagger while ‘Temple’ is (checks cliche-ometer) mean, moody and magnificent. Some suitable CD programming and that’s half an hour of your eighties Sunset Strip theme party sorted.



Another band who can go back 30 years are Sinful Way. Difference is, they split up 30 years back without recording anything.

But time is merely an abstract construct (my second one of the week) and so it is that lead vocalist Mark Gable, guitarists Danny Grace and Jeff Kreipl, bassist Jeff Finnerin and drummer Matt Smith got together to record “Resurrection” with the latter three original members.

And I think it is safe to say that they are both Heavy and Metal. Please note this is proper heavy metal. They way it was before the world split into 2,742 subgenres. And I speak as the leader of Seventh Advent Unicorn © ® ™ , a folk horror metal band whose debut album “The Devil Rides The Winner In The 3.20 At Wincanton” is imminent. Shameless plug over and out.

Back in the world of Sinful Way and there are hints of pre British Steel era Judas Priest with some very Maidenesque guitar solos. And these are things to be commended. Back in the day this was the sort of meat and potatoes sound that you would hear opening for name acts every night of the week. Mark Gable has a really strong voice and on the best of the songs – ‘Run For Cover’ and ‘Conscious Worship’ – the band sound really good. Fans of more traditional power type metal may find this up their street.

St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

The Rocker monthly reviews sampler now available on Spotify

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