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Bert de Coninck & Fran (Belgium): Crapule De Luxe (Parsifal 4000/222, with insert, 1979)
Rock/New Wave/Progressive
Fransiska Degeyter (joint lead vocals, piano)
For the most part, this is heavily rooted in new wave, sounding not unlike their French contemporaries Téléphone. However, they also have a definite foot in the mainstream classic rock camp, with some slight but definite progressive tinges. The closing ‘Fur Ulrike’ is something else, though – a beautiful, haunting instrumental with strong classical tinges and mildly avant-garde edges. With excellent songwriting and fine musicianship throughout, this is a thoroughly enjoyable LP and is highly recommended. As a footnote, the gentle, reggae-flavoured ‘Johnny’ was released as a single, credited solely to Fran, backed by the non-LP B-side ‘Marilou – Marilyn’. GRADE: C+.

Wim de Craene & Viona Westra (Belgium): Een Vinger In De Pap (BRT BRT 1.001, with insert, 1974?)
Viona Westra (joint lead vocals)
Ranging from pleasant folk/rock to nice classical-tinged ballads to excruciating schlager, this is an odd record indeed, even by the standards of mid-seventies European pop. From what I can glean from the lyrics, it appears to be some sort of concept album about a school’s sports team, whilst the back cover suggests it may have been a tie-in with a TV show. In any case, Wim de Craene takes the lion’s share of the lead vocals whilst writing much of the material, whilst former Mad Curry and Stainless Steel singer Viona Westra is not heavily featured. GRADE: C.
See also Mad Curry, Stainless Steel, Sonny Zandueta

Maja de Rado & Porodična Manufaktura Crnog Hleba (Yugoslavia): Stvaranje (RTB LP 5240, 1974)
Maja de Rado (principal vocals, guitar)
The dreamy, atmospheric folk/rock created by talented singer/songwriter de Rado and her band doesn’t really sound Eastern European, though there are resemblances to Czechoslovakian duo Hana & Petr Ulrychovi. With its acoustic guitars, nimble rhythm section and plenty of plaintive flute, this sounds like something that could have emerged from the Canadian seventies underground, and it’s as atmospheric as it is charming. Ultimately, this lacks the one or two killer songs that would have elevated it to the next level, but on consistency alone it’s just about a B–. GRADE: B–.

George Deacon & Marion Ross (UK): Sweet William’s Ghost (Xtra 1130, with booklet, 1973)
Marion Ross (keyboards, psaltery, backing vocals)
This LP is usually compared in dealer lists to Stone Angel, since both albums have some macabre lyrics and use mediaeval instrumentation, but the comparison is very misleading. Whereas Stone Angel is electric acid-folk, this is essentially a straight folk LP with a sinister, gothic twist. That said, it’s interesting in its own right, and offers a very different take on the mediaeval folk sound to the hey-nonny-nonny frippery of City Waites et al. Confounding expectations of male and female folk duos, Deacon is the lead vocalist and Ross the main instrumentalist. As a bizarre footnote, Barbara O’ Meara from the hard rock band Punchin’ Judy provides some backing vocals, presumably because her own band was signed to parent label Transatlantic. GRADE: C+.

Dead End 5 (Finland): Dead Ends (Finnlevy SFLP 9593, 1976)
Annika Salminen (lead vocals)
This hard rock band offer an enjoyably stripped-down album, mixing originals with Finnish language covers of Kiss, Janis Joplin and West, Bruce & Laing numbers. Annika Salminen subsequently went on to a short-lived solo career, releasing the album Itseteossa in 1978. GRADE: C+.
See also Annika Salminen

Dead Parrots Society (UK): Music Of A Bygone Age (Midnight Music MDN LP001, 1992)
Katy Andrews Scott (keyboards, percussion, backing vocals), Sheila Ross (recorder)
This charming and deeply obscure psychedelic folk album takes many of its cues from the Incredible String Band, although it’s not so rambling and diffuse; the opening ‘Red Rose For Nico’ alludes to another of their influences. It’s a varied set too, from acapella numbers to full band backing plus trippy studio effects, although most of the songs feature sparse semi-acoustic arrangements. Contrary to frequent rumours of a tiny pressing (from 50 to 200 copies), the band actually made 500. They returned years later with an all-male line-up to cut a second and final LP. GRADE: B–.

Dead Poppies (UK): In Spod Time (Probe Plus PROBE 39CD, CD, 1994)
Maria Little (lead vocals, glockenspiel)
Commencing with an uncredited cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Embryonic Journey’ and climaxing with the 16-minute ‘Dragon Man’, this is an enjoyable and accomplished album of West Coast guitar rock. However, whilst they channel their late sixties influences well enough and play and sing to a high standard, the disc lacks the great songs that would have made it a modern psychedelic classic. GRADE: C+.
Dead Poppies (UK/Australia): Confidence Tricks (Probe Plus PROBE 56, CD, UK, 2005)
Lexi Senior (joint lead vocals, percussion)
The band’s second and final album (actually recorded between 1996 and 1999 but not released until 2005) sees them return with a new Australian vocalist. Why its release was delayed, I have no idea, as it’s significantly better than their debut, strongly emphasising their folk roots while remaining in the same sixties-influenced West Coast territory. On the downside, the numbers fronted by guitarist Ken Rutherford (who has a rather Bob Dylan-like voice) aren’t quite as good and the recording quality varies significantly between tracks, indicating the LP’s rather fractured genesis, but at its best this is really excellent stuff. GRADE: B–.

Dead Witches (UK/Italy): Ouija (Heavy Psych Sounds HPS048, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, Italy, 2017)
Virginia Monti (lead vocals)
Formed by Virginia Monti (ex-Psychedelic Witchcraft) and Mark Greening (ex-Electric Wizard), Dead Witches offer fuzzed-out doom metal in the retro-seventies style favoured by Blood Ceremony, Devil’s Blood et al. That covers the ‘Heavy’ part of the label name; the ‘Psych’ part manifests itself in pronounced shoegaze edges, including almost subterranean moments. However, although this is enjoyable throughout it’s clear they don’t have the songs or the riffs to equal the best in the genre, and even over the space of a mere 32 minutes it’s obvious they have a tendency to repeat themselves ad infinitum. GRADE: C+.

Dead Witches (UK): The Final Exorcism (Heavy Psych Sounds HPS091, CD, with digipak, Italy, 2019)
Soozi Chameleone (principal vocals)
They’ve changed vocalist, giving them an all-British line-up, but my impressions remain unchanged from their first album. Once again, this is decent doom metal and intermittently very good doom metal, but it isn’t great doom metal, and in such an overcrowded genre decent-to-very good isn’t quite good enough. GRADE: C+.

See also Psychedelic Witchcraft

Death Penalty (UK/Belgium): Death Penalty (Rise Above RISELP161, double LP plus 7", red or clear vinyl, with insert and patch, UK, 2014)
Michelle Nocon (lead vocals)
Betwixt traditional and doom metal, this three-sided album (plus bonus single) offers some solid grooves and punchy riffs. That said, it doesn’t have the crushing majesty of the very best doom, nor any really memorable hooks, so it’s merely a solid example of the genre. GRADE: C+.

Deathbell (France/Ireland): With The Beyond (Seeing Red SRR0016, CD, with digipak, 2018)
Lauren Gaynor (lead vocals, keyboards)
Widescreen, majestic, glossy doom metal, combining an early seventies sensibility with modern wall-of-sound production – think Windhand or early Blood Ceremony. The differences with Deathbell? They’re fonder of symphonic keyboards than the other two, but otherwise a cross between Windhand and early Blood Ceremony pretty much nails it. As such, they’re not the most original or distinctive band in the world. But they’re a bloody good one by any measure, and this is a truly excellent debut. GRADE: B–.

Deathbell (France/Ireland): With The Beyond (Seeing Red SRR0016, CD, with digipak, 2018)
Lauren Gaynor (lead vocals, keyboards)
Widescreen, majestic, glossy doom metal, combining an early seventies sensibility with modern wall-of-sound production – think Windhand or early Blood Ceremony. The differences with Deathbell? They’re fonder of symphonic keyboards than the other two, but otherwise a cross between Windhand and early Blood Ceremony pretty much nails it. As such, they’re not the most original or distinctive band in the world. But they’re a bloody good one by any measure, and this is a truly excellent debut. GRADE: B–.

Débile Menthol (Switzerland): Inédits Au Local – Août 80 (Trans-Mekanik Productions TM 044, 1980)
Marie Schwab (violin)
The debut album by this fascinating Swiss collective offers knotty, complex mainly instrumental rock: sometimes relaxed and elegant but frequently furiously intense and perversely playful. Assertive drums and percussion effectively underpin the sound throughout, and for a collection dismissively billed as unreleased local recordings, the sound quality is remarkably good. If it has a failing, it’s on the long side at around 75 minutes, but it’s certainly packed with great ideas and fascinating music. Oddly, the tape is known with two completely different covers: one (as depicted on Discogs) has the handwritten legend ‘La Cigarette Du Plus Fort’ (sometimes assumed to be the title) on the front and track titles inside, whilst the other (as in my collection) has a card cover adapted from a flyer for their first vinyl LP Emile Au Jardin Patrologique. GRADE: B–.

Débile Menthol (Switzerland): Emile Au Jardin Patrologique (Rec Rec 01, with insert, 1981)
Marie Schwab (occasional vocals, violin)
This interesting RIO album borrows from chamber-rock, classical and jazz, although it’s very much rock-based, with a few off-kilter pop sensibilities. Mixing odd songs and even odder instrumentals, it almost sounds like the midpoint between Henry Cow, Look De Bouk and Camembert Électrique-era Gong, peculiar though that description may seem. GRADE: B–.
Débile Menthol (Switzerland): Battre Campagne (Rec Rec 06, with insert, 1984)
New Wave/Avant-Garde/Jazz
Marie Schwab (occasional vocals, violin)
Their second and final LP has much stronger new wave elements, taking them towards French contemporaries like Les I and Étron Fou Leloublan, before moving into Henry Cow Western Culture realms on part of side two. Otherwise, this is as creative, crazy and confusing as its predecessor, featuring some manic avant-garde sounds drawing on everything from funk to classical music. GRADE: B–.

Débile Menthol (Switzerland): Live En Europe 1982-84 (Edition Unbeirrt eu D, cassette, 1984)
Marie Schwab
At the more cacophonous end of their repertoire, this bric-à-brac collection is fiery, creative, fascinating, atonal and occasionally slightly baffling. Nonetheless, despite the mediocre sound quality, it’s an effective live document and a worthwhile addition to their discography. GRADE: B–.
Débile Menthol (Switzerland): Live 1982-84 (Rayés No. 009, 2013, recorded 1982-1984)
Marie Schwab
This appears to contain a completely different set of recordings from the cassette above, though with the same sharp, rather trebly sound. Again, it’s a bit of a curate’s egg, with a few sections that don’t really work, but at its best it’s fascinating. GRADE: B–.

Decadence (USA): Savagery And Grace (Daystar DSLP 8001, some with 7" single and booklet, 1980)
Jacque Hoffman (joint lead vocals)
Sometimes erroneously described as ‘psychedelic’, this is mainstream guitar rock with hard rock, new wave and progressive elements and long tracks (one of thirteen minutes and another of ten). They’re a solid band and it’s well put together, but the lack of really outstanding songs and riffs keeps this firmly in the second division. 1000 copies were pressed, of which half apparently came with a booklet and bonus single (though my sealed copy had the 45 but not the booklet, and I have heard reports of copies with two singles). GRADE: C+.
Decadence (USA): Je Ne Sais Quoi (Savagery SRLP 2001, with booklet, 1981)
Angela Cliff (joint lead vocals, violin, flute)
Opinions differ as to which Decadence LP is superior, but I much prefer this one. As prog-tinged AOR albums go, this is pretty much top-of-the-heap, with some excellent songwriting, fine riffs and tempo changes, and a good range of styles and moods on offer. GRADE: C+.

December’s Children (USA): December’s Children (Mainstream 6128, 1970)
Alice Popovic (joint lead vocals)
One of many second-division acts of the era to record for Mainstream, December’s Children was a fairly straightforward bluesy hard rock band. They also had some minor progressive leanings, as demonstrated on the opening suite ‘Trilogy’, but overall their album is fairly unambitious. Those liking the style should enjoy the LP, and a couple of the gentler tracks (‘Jane’s Song’ and ‘Afternoon’) are effective, but don’t be fooled by the luscious psychedelic cover. GRADE: C+.

Deep Freeze Mice (UK): My Geraniums Are Bulletproof (Mole Embalming MOLE 1, with inserts, 1979)
Sherree Lawrence (piano)
The debut album by the prolific Alan Jenkins and cohorts is very much a game of two halves. The first side consists of six melodic, off-kilter, satirical pop songs demonstrating influences from everyone from Elvis Costello (notably in the vocals) to Kevin Ayers. The second features the 26-minute ‘The Octagonal Rabbit Surplus’, a collage of improvisations from the band’s home-made cassettes. This consists largely of tuned and acoustic percussion, interspersed with a lovely folky melody played in various arrangements, and reflects the band’s penchant for Krautrock and other experimental music. As a whole, the album is a charming period piece, and both sides contain enough of interest that I rate them roughly equally. The extremely rare cassette reissue (Mole Enbalming MOLE C2, 1984) features a 12-song live set (with Sherree Lawrence on organ rather than acoustic and electric piano) recorded in 1982 on the B-side. This is an enjoyable set of garage-rock and again a solid C+. GRADE: C+.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): Teenage Head In My Refrigerator (Mole Embalming MOLE 2, with inserts, 1981)
Pop/New Wave/Garage
Sherree Lawrence (occasional vocals, organ)
The second Deep Freeze Mice album is rather straighter than the first, with no experimental excursions like ‘The Octagonal Rabbit Surplus’. The new wave aspects are more obvious this time around, with greater use of reggae rhythms, though there are clear influences from sixties pop and garage. Oddly, two different expanded cassette editions exist of the album. The first, from 1982 (Mole Embalming MOLE C1), from 1982, features a second side titled ‘Led Zeppelin 2’, which features 12 outtakes mixed in with a radio interview; this material is rather good, and may actually be slightly more interesting than the album proper. According to Alan Jenkins, ’20 to 30’ copies were made after the LP had sold out. The second, from 1984 (Mole Embalming MOLE C3), features 16 cuts on the flipside; I haven’t heard it, but there appears to be a fair amount of duplication from the 1982 version. GRADE: C+.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): The Gates Of Lunch (Mole Embalming MOLE 3, with booklet, 1982)
Pop/New Wave/Garage/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Sherree Lawrence (keyboards)
The band’s third album returns to the format of My Geraniums Are Bulletproof, but also represents a clear step up from their earlier work. The nine songs and song fragments on the first side sparkle with joie de vivre, whilst the 23-minute ‘Godzilla Loves Me, I’m An Ashtray’ on the second formally recalls ‘The Octagonal Rabbit Surplus’, with its clattering percussion and snatches of classical music, but is superior in every way, with a catchy song being woven into the sonic tapestry. This was originally planned as a double album, but the scope was reduced for cost reasons after three sides of material were recorded; the unused songs were included on the CD reissue along with three live numbers. GRADE: B–.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): Saw A Ranch House Burning Last Night (Mole Embalming MOLE 4, with booklet, 1983)
Sherree Lawrence (occasional vocals, keyboards)
With their fourth album, Deep Freeze Mice start to resemble a number of other eighties garage psych outfits. Whilst this isn’t as intriguing as its predecessor – there’s nothing anywhere near as ambitious as ‘Godzilla Loves Me…’, for a start – it’s probably their most consistent LP yet, notwithstanding the unwelcome programmed drums. GRADE: C+.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): I Love You Little Bo Bo With Your Delicate Golden Lions (Cordelia Ericat 001, double, with poster sleeve, 1984)
Pop/New Wave/Garage/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Sherree Lawrence (occasional vocals, organ)
The Mice’s magnum opus features three sides of rather good garage rock (with the more psychedelic side three getting my vote) and one featuring a lengthy jazzy improvisation. This is less impressive, often sounding like the Grateful Dead noodling aimlessly towards the end of a less-than-stellar ‘Dark Star’, but it’s always interesting to see them showcase this side of their music. Overall, my grade may be a tad generous, but there’s plenty of solid music here and they’re to be admired for releasing something like this in 1984 in the first place. GRADE: B–.

Deep Freeze Mice (UK): Hang On Constance Let Me Hear The News (Cordelia ERICAT 004, 1985)
Sherree Lawrence (occasional vocals, keyboards)
Rather more concise than its predecessor, this sees the band integrating the garage-pop and avant-garde sides of their sound on a tapestry of short numbers incorporating both catchy tunes and found sounds. It’s perhaps not their most substantial LP, but it certainly contains some of their best material. GRADE: C+.

Deep Freeze Mice (UK): The Tender Yellow Ponies Of Insomnia (Cordelia ERICAT 027, 1989)
Sherree Lawrence (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
The Mice’s final album also has lots of oddball diversions and some nice jamming moments, but is for the most part relatively straight. Given that it was taped on cassette, it has surprisingly good sound quality, but the drum machine really doesn’t do them any favours. Oddly, the bonus material on the CD (Cordelia CD048, 2010) is vastly better than the album proper: ‘The Delicious Little Green Roosters Of Insomnia’ is a stunning 29-minute jam and ‘The Grindy Track’, as Alan Jenkins notes in the booklet, sees them beginning to nod towards progressive metal. As such, the CD is highly recommended and is a comfortable B–. GRADE: C+.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): Live In Leeds 1980 (Cordelia, download, 2011, recorded 1980)
Sherree Lawrence
This recording of the Mice’s first gig in May 1980 has remarkably decent sound quality, considering it’s a 256k MP3 and was most likely not recorded on professional gear. The actual performance is more professional than I expected too, focusing on the straighter, song-based end of the band’s repertoire. It all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience as well as an important historic document. GRADE: C+.
Deep Freeze Mice (UK): Live Recording From Shaffhausen (Cordelia CD090, CD, 2019, recorded 1985)
Sherree Lawrence (organ)
This archive release features the band’s entire 24-song set in Shaffhausen, Switzerland, and effectively replaces the Live In Switzerland cassette. Whether it’s better or worse than the original is debatable, but I’m glad to have both of them. GRADE: C+.

Deep Six (USA): The Deep Six (Liberty LRP 3475, 1966)
Dean Cannon
This short-haired, smartly-suited band don’t look too promising on the back cover, but this is as charming a period baroque folk/rock album as one could wish for. Many tracks are familiar covers (‘Paint It, Black’, ‘When Morning Breaks’, ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’) but there are also some excellent originals, including the standout ‘What Would You Wish From The Golden Fish?’, complete with uncharacteristic acid guitar. GRADE: C+.

Defroster (West Germany): Defroster (RSM 82001, 1982)
Uschi Schneider (lead vocals)
This slick jazz-fusion album is well performed and produced, but it’s also extremely bland. As a result, it’s a pleasant listen but never succeeds in becoming anything more than background music. On ‘Barbed Wires’, which opens the second side, they sound uncomfortably close to Shakatak. GRADE: C.

Deining (Holland): Deining (Crossroad CR 28133, with inner, 1982)
Lizet Burgersdijk (joint lead vocals)
This is a varied LP, from quite intense electric folk through to more traditional acoustic stuff and even funky moments and mildly symphonic ballads. The best material here, which displays a dark early Steeleye Span influence, is quite impressive, but this is a very patchy record. GRADE: C+.

Deirdre (Holland): Deirdre (Philips 6416 118, with insert, 1977)
Jopie Jonkers (principal vocals, guitar, tambourine), Hanneke Luxembourg (joint lead vocals)
Rightly regarded as a classic, this excellent electric folk album draws its influences from Fairport Convention’s Liege And Lief, but adds a richer, symphonic edge. The band apparently changed singers towards the end of the recording sessions, with Hanneke Luxembourg replacing Jopie Jonkers. The former has the better voice, although both are good singers, and the two cuts she fronts (‘Lovely Joan’ and ‘Young Waters’) are among the finest on the LP. Meanwhile, Jonkers’s slight but noticeable Dutch accent causes a few problems on the closing ‘Ca’ The Yowes’, where she struggles with the dialect. GRADE: B.
See also Pegasus

Deirdre (Ireland): Deirdre (Polydor 2908 006, 1973)
Deirdre O’ Callaghan
Nothing to do with the celebrated Dutch electric folk band of the same name, this was a solo album by a singer and harpist. It’s rather good too, as she has a lovely voice and sensitively interprets the traditional material with partly acoustic and partly electric backing. Like almost all seventies releases on Irish Polydor, this is now very rare. GRADE: C+.

Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Dodici Canzoni Da Batello Su Melodie Veneziane Del Settecento (Italia ITL 70030, with booklet, 1978)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
The Opus Avantra singer’s solo debut is straightforward classical music, featuring interpretations of a number of compositions from 1947 by Salvatore Sciarrino with baroque chamber orchestra backing. The result is a beautiful album, perfectly showcasing her stunning vocals, but there is nothing at all here for rock fans. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Schönberg Kabarett (Cramps 5307 305, with inner, 1979)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
Del Monaco’s second solo set consists of interpretations of a number of Arnold Schönberg songs from between 1897 and 1905. Accompaniment is mostly from solo piano, with occasional use of trumpet, piccolo and drum. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Il Carnevale Di Venezia (Holly HR 26706, with inner, 1985)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
Side one features accompaniment from solo piano, whilst side two features guitar, violin and flute; both demonstrate Del Monaco’s operatic voice to excellent effect. This time around, much of the material is by the nineteenth century composer Antonio Buzzolla.

Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Schönberg Kabarett 2 (Artis ARCD 012, CD, 1989)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
This is even more minimalist than the first instalment, with piano providing the only accompaniment. Once again Del Monaco is in stunning vocal form. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Chansons Satie (Opus Avantra Studium OPUS 071, CD, 1997)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
Like its predecessor, this has simple piano accompaniment (with a few cuts being solo piano instrumentals), but as the title suggests the material is all by Satie. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Venexia De Oro (Opus Avatra Studium OPUS 073, CD, 1999)
Donella Del Monaco (principal vocals)
This concept album is more ambitious than Del Monaco’s previous solo work, being a concept set about Venice including some self-penned material. The backing is more varied too, taking in acoustic guitars, piano, percussion, strings, flute and choirs, as well as a poet reading some of his material. Whilst still very austere and minimalist, this is her most interesting and creative solo work to date. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco (Italy): Merica Merica (Opus Avantra Studium OPUS 074, CD, 2000)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
Like its predecessor, this has varied arrangements that create some impressive settings for Del Monaco’s vocals. The material this time round is mediaeval, with a few modern embellishments. GRADE: C+.
Donella Del Monaco & Paolo Troncon/Opus Avantra Ensemble (Italy): Venetia E Anima (Opus Avantra Studium OPUS 078, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2012)
Donella Del Monaco (lead vocals)
This is Del Monaco’s most interesting solo album, moving away from straightforward classical music to include influences from folk, prog, jazz and the avant-garde. The ‘Opus Avantra Ensemble’ have nothing to do with the ‘real’ Opus Avantra (essentially Del Monaco and composer/pianist Alfredo Tisocco plus guests) but simply the ensemble backing her and pianist Paolo Troncon on this album. GRADE: B–.

Donella Del Monaco, Paolo Troncon & Opus Avantra Ensemble (Italy): Rosa Rosae (Musiche Particolari MPRCD083, CD, with slipcase, 2019)
Donella Del Monaco (principal vocals)
Like the previous Opus Avantra Ensemble, this is fascinating stuff, and in many way recaptures the eclecticism and sense of adventure of the very first Opus Avantra LP. Sure, it’s a good deal more sedate and not quite as adventurous (though the unexpected electric guitar on the superb ‘Cyrcles’ delivers quite a thrill), but it’s consistently surprising and intriguing, and the best thing Del Monaco has done in decades. GRADE: B–.
See also Opus Avantra

Delta & Mov (Greece): Delta-Mov (Pan-Vox X33 SPV 10237, 1981)
As was common for Greek LPs in the seventies and early eighties, this is split between two bands, who alternate tracks. Delta is a light progressive band with female vocals and pop edges, although one cut is blues/rock and slightly resembles an updated Chicken Shack. In contrast, Mov is Deep Purple-style early seventies hard rock with a leather-lunged, tight-trousered singer. Both bands’ cuts have applause, suggesting that they were recorded live, but I suspect this was overdubbed. Whilst this averages a C+, some tracks (particularly from Mov) are better. GRADE: C+.

Delta 4 (France/Tunisia): Tefolène (Musique En Chantier MC 001, cassette, 1987)
Pascale Jakubowski (lead vocals, piano, clarinet), Françoise Schoenbroeck (gong, piccolo)
Radically different from Jakubowski’s other band Orient-Express, Delta 4 offer melodic jazz/rock, with her piccolo intertwining with François Schoenbroeck’s piccolo and principal composer Jean-Paul Noguès’s elegant saxophone work. The band subsequently continued, without Jakubowski, as Delta Ensemble. GRADE: C+.
See also Orient-Express

Deluge Grander (USA): The Form Of The Good (Emkog 004, CD, 2009)
Megan Wheatley (occasional vocals)
This mostly instrumental album is quite superb – weird, trippy, impressionistic and constantly surprising on five furiously complex tracks of between five and 19 minutes. At times they hint towards RIO with mutant jazzy textures and at others bring to mind Änglagård, but mostly blend disparate influences into a fascinating and unique sonic stew. GRADE: B.
Deluge Grander (USA): Heliotians (Emkog emxog007, LP plus CD, with insert, 2014)
Megan Wheatley (joint lead vocals)
This limited edition (of 205 numbered copies) is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, with an LP and CD (with the same contents) housed in a thick gatefold sleeve with a unique hand-painted cover and handwritten lyrics and credits on the inside. But musically, have they equalled the sublime The Form Of The Good? The short answer is no. The longer answer is that Heliotians is completely different, with all three songs blending vocal and instrumental sections. The results are still quite impressive, moving them a little closer to RIO, but whilst still complex and challenging the music here doesn’t have quite the same audacity. GRADE: B–.

Delusion Squared (France): Delusion Squared (No label DS-fel-09, CD, with digipak, 2010)
Lorraine Young
Unusually for a neoprogressive album, this isn’t rooted in symphonic rock and doesn’t resemble any of the usual seventies suspects. Instead, it tells its science-fiction concept story via suites of electric and acoustic rock songs with soft and melodic vocals and the keyboards used mainly for colouring. The result is a nice album, although there isn’t anything really outstanding on offer and they don’t sound like they’re pushing any boundaries. GRADE: C+.
Delusion Squared (France): II (No label DS-fel-12, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2012)
Lorraine Young (lead vocals, guitar)
As the title suggests, this continues in the same style and their first, and is once again very well crafted and pleasingly melodic. However, again none of the songs is individually exceptional, and overall the set is nowhere near as ambitious as the rather pretentious titles portend. GRADE: C+.
Delusion Squared (France): The Final Delusion (No label DS-fel-14, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2014)
Lorraine Young (lead vocals, guitar)
This concept album continues in their usual style, and once again indicates that they have an unoriginal yet perversely distinctive sound. At times, it emphasises the psychedelic and hard rock aspects of their sound a little more than earlier LPs, and is possibly their best release. GRADE: C+.

Demantra (Argentina): Demantra (No label, CD, with digipak, 2008)
Paula Brameri (lead vocals)
This short album (or long EP if you prefer, at 28½ minutes) has that typically understated yet robust Latin American style – mellow and symphonic, yet assertively rocking. As such, this isn’t the most distinctive or memorable set, but it’s certainly above average for the style – well composed, played and recorded, making for an enjoyable half-hour. Their only other release, as far as I know, was the 2013 download-only single ‘Carnal’/‘Tantas Cosas’, which offers some excellent hard rock. GRADE: C+.

Demi-Heure (Canada): Demi-Heure (Productions Demi-Heure DH 10111, with insert, 1978)
Hélène Parent (joint lead vocals), Christine Fortin (flute, oboe)
This lovely album of dreamy hippie folk/rock has a typically laid-back Quebecois flavour, with occasional jazz and progressive edges and lots of colouring from oboe and flute. The only missing element is truly great songs, with the winsome sound and harmonies rather outclassing the actual compositions. GRADE: C+.

Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): Demi Semi Quaver (God Mountain GMCD 008, with booklet, 1993)
Emi Eleonola (principal vocals, piano, accordion)
This typically excessive Japanese avant-prog album is fascinating and unique: shot through with post-punk aggression, fringing the heaviest end of zeuhl (think Bondage Fruit with a slight metal edge) and occasionally hinting towards RIO. Sound effects and industrial edges regularly enliven the proceedings, whilst folky diversions with accordion provide some relief – and just to top it all off, it’s often quite funky and sometimes rather sensual too. GRADE: B–.
Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): II (God Mountain GMCD-19, with poster booklet and obi, 1993)
Emi Eleonola (principal vocals, keyboards, accordion)
Album number two is a logical step forward from their debut, though it’s less adventurous and startling than their first. This time round, I can hear clear references to the new wave sounds of bands like Les I, with a more song-based style and less in the way of folky touches, though the industrial edges remain. As a footnote, this is the first of several CDs with odd packaging – this one has no tray card. GRADE: B–.

Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): Three (Dohb Discs ESCB 3205, with obi, 1996)
Emi Eleonola (lead vocals, keyboards, accordion)
Once again, their music somewhat reminds me of the French post-punk underground, though it’s strongly shot through with typically Japanese chaotic elements, including some frenetic zeuhl references. It’s all good stuff, all powerful and compelling, but their lack of variety and artistic development is starting to become more obvious. Once again, the disc was released without a tray card, instead having a sticker on the reverse. GRADE: B–.

Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): Golden Animal Head (Warner Indies Network WINX 82042, CD, with obi, 2000)
Emi Eleonola (lead vocals, keyboards, accordion)
Weird, playful, punkish and poppy, this has a typically Nippon joie de vivre, though once I’m again I’m reminded of French post-punk experimental music. There are plenty of prog references too, and a high level of energy, resulting in another intriguing and satisfying album. GRADE: B–.
Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): Dog Bless You (Baked Apple BD-004, CD, with digipak and lenticular cover slick, 2004)
Emi Eleonola (principal vocals, keyboards, accordion)
The bright and jolly cover suggests that they may have moved in a punk-pop direction, but not so: their mutant zeuhl, propulsive funky grooves and eclectic experimentation have never sounded so alive, making for their best album. The packaging is a delight too: a cruciform digipak plus a holographic lenticular cover. GRADE: B–.
Demi Semi Quaver (Japan): Kiiroi Yamy (Troll Music TRM-032, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2012)
Emi Eleonola (principal vocals, piano, accordion)
The only criticism I can make of Demi Semi Quaver’s final release is that it’s so short – eight years after Dog Bless You, they manage precisely three songs totalling a rather underwhelming 19 minutes. However, this is 19 minutes of truly great avant-prog, which I suppose is really the point. 

See also Royal Squeezit

Tommy Fortman & Demon Thor (Switzerland): Anno 1972 (United Artists UAS 29 393 I, West Germany, 1972)
Madeleine Bach (occasional vocals, guitar), Liselotte Frey (violin, backing vocals), Corinne Fortman (backing vocals)
Dominated by Tommy Fortman, who writes and arranges everything and takes almost all the lead vocals, Demon Thor offer diverse strands of early seventies rock on their debut. There’s everything here from a ten-minute progressive piece with classical interludes to hard rock with assertive lead guitar, a baroque ballad with Mellotron and a couple of pieces of barrelhouse rock in the style of Mungo Jerry. The result is a patchy, intermittently likable, frequently mediocre album that sounds more a compilation of different acts than the work of a single band. GRADE: C.
Demon Thor (Switzerland): Written In The Sky (United Artists UAS 29 496 I, West Germany, 1974)
Gitta Walther (occasional vocals)
From what I can tell from the sketchy credits, Fortman plays nearly all the instruments this time around but mainly uses guest vocalists. Side one is given over to the titular suite, which is full-blown symphonic progressive bordering on rock opera, with well-travelled session singer Gitta Walther providing some of the lead vocals (and her group Love Generation backing vocals). In contrast, side two is given over to four short songs, which cover a broad range of territory and are generally slightly better than those on their first. GRADE: C+.​

Denise (Brazil): Denise (CBS KRIA-1636, cassette, 1990)
Denise Corales (lead vocals)
Most of the songs are by husband Carlos, but don’t expect Aguaturbia: instead this is a rather undistinguished pop LP, with partly electronic arrangements and a couple of tracks with white reggae influences. Of course, I’ve only heard half of it (I don’t possess the cassette but do have all the singles taken from it) so it’s possible there’s a hidden gem in the other half, but I’d bet good money that there isn’t. GRADE: C–.
Denise (Brazil): Definitivamente (Ritmo 8536382, CD, 1998)
Denise Corales (lead vocals)
This time Carlos is writing everything, as well as co-producing and playing all the instruments, but this still doesn’t sound anything like Aguaturbia. It does, however, sound much better than Denise, being vaguely folkish, slightly bluesy melodic rock – beautifully crafted and recorded, but ultimately more classy than it is compelling. GRADE: C+.

See also Aguaturbia, Panal

Sandy Denny (UK): It’s Sandy Denny (Saga EROS 8153, 1970)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar)
Issued as a budget cash-in on the success of Unhalfbricking and Liege And Lief, this ostensibly compiles tracks from the obscure 1967 albums Alex Campbell And His Friends and Sandy And Johnny. In fact, alternate takes of many cuts were used, making all three LPs essential for Denny completists (though the CD Where The Time Goes includes everything from the sessions). Musically, the songs simply feature Denny accompanied by acoustic guitar, and there are no original compositions, so this gives not the slightest hint that she would go on to become one of the most important figures in English folk. GRADE: C.
Sandy Denny (UK): The North Star Grassman And The Ravens (Island ILPS 9165, 1971)
Sandy Denny (principal vocals, guitar, piano)
Sandy Denny’s first true solo LP is also her best. Original songs like ‘Late November’, ‘John The Gun’, ‘Next Time Around’ and the title track show a songwriter at the peak of her craft, creating spellbinding bittersweet atmospheres with melodies to match. The prog folk version of the traditional ‘Blackwaterside’ is also among the best things she or Fairport ever did. But Denny being Denny (and a Fairport alumnus), she couldn’t manage a consistently brilliant LP: I could live without her cover of ‘Down In The Flood’ and especially the totally misplaced ‘Let’s Jump The Broomstick’.

Sandy Denny (UK): Sandy (Island ILPS 9207, 1972)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
Denny’s direction of travel is immediately obvious from the cover: whereas The North Star Grassman And The Ravens depicted her looking subdued in a country kitchen, Sandy has a glossy, soft-focus David Bailey portrait. That doesn’t mean she’s abandoned her folk roots, but hints of a more adult contemporary style begin to creep in here. Nonetheless, these disparate elements are well blended and whilst this never equals the best moments from The North Star Grassman… it’s rather more consistent at the same time. GRADE: B–.
Sandy Denny (UK): Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz (Island ILPS 9258, 1973)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
The lovely quaint cover reflects the nostalgia of the two rather ersatz cover versions: ‘Whispering Grass’ and ‘Until The Real Thing Comes Along’. They’re perfectly pleasant, of course, but they’re odd choices for Denny, and the former always puts me in mind of ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’. The original songs are totally different, being polished soft rock with a transatlantic feel, borne aloft on a sumptuous bed of electric guitars and keyboards. It’s all very well done, but one can’t help but feel that Denny chose this style precisely because she was starting to lose her voice and her flair for songwriting – only the opening ‘Solo’ really bears comparison to her finest work. GRADE: C+.
Sandy Denny (UK): Rendezvous (Island ILPS 9433, with inner, 1977)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
Denny’s swansong is a lovely album and a surprising return to form. Her most varied and adventurous set, it takes in shimmering, almost psychedelic guitar rock (a superb cover of Richard & Linda Thompson’s ‘For Shame Of Doing Wrong’), jazzy borderline prog recalling mid-seventies Joni Mitchell (‘Gold Dust’) and a long, haunting piece with purely orchestral backing (‘All Our Days’). There are also some of her most haunting and evocative ballads in ‘Take Me Away’, ‘One Way Donkey Ride’, ‘I’m A Dreamer’ and ‘No More Sad Refrains’. Indeed, only an anodyne cover of Elton John’s ‘Candle In The Wind’ (recorded months after the other material in an attempt to give her a potential hit single) fails to impress. GRADE: B.
Sandy Denny (UK): Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (Island SDSP 100, quadruple LP, no sleeves, with booklet and box, 1986, recorded

Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
This beautifully compiled retrospective set (which was among the first archive releases of its kind for a relatively obscure artist) offers an overview of Denny’s entire career. Including numerous unreleased tracks (live versions, alternate takes and demos of unknown songs) it’s a fitting tribute to her life and talent. Most CD versions condensed the set onto three discs, but the superbly packaged Japanese SHM-CD set (Universal International UICY-94090/1/2/3, with booklets, inserts and box, 2009) adds a fourth of rare demos. GRADE: B.
Sandy Denny (UK): Gold Dust – Live At The Royalty (Island IMCD 252, CD, 1998, recorded 1977)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
This recording of Denny’s final concert caused some controversy: the degradation in the master tapes led to Jerry Donahue re-recording the guitar parts, at which time the material was extensively remixed and the set reordered. The end result, according to those who attended, is a concert document bearing no resemblance to the actual concert. Nonetheless, it’s a fine album, featuring a superb selection of material performed in fine style by a slightly unusual line-up including a dedicated steel guitar player. GRADE: B.

Sandy Denny (UK): A Boxful Of Treasures (Fledg’ling NEST 5002, quintuple CD, with minisleeve, booklet, insert and box, 2004, recorded 1967-1977)
Sandy Denny (principal vocals, guitar, piano)
Denny’s second boxed set is a larger affair, featuring five discs. The first four, housed in jewel cases, chart her career chronologically, throwing in a handful of previously unreleased numbers, whilst the fifth, with a minisleeve, compiles twelve previously unreleased solo demos and three live cuts by Fairport Convention. It’s always possible to quibble over track selection with a collection like this, but they got it spot on 99% of the time, the packaging is lovely and the unreleased material is mostly excellent. Like Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, this makes a pretty unassailable case for her as Britain’s greatest female singer/songwriter. GRADE: B.
Sandy Denny (UK): Live At The BBC (Island 984 992-8, 3CD plus DVDS, with book sleeve, 2007, recorded 1966-1973)
Sandy Denny (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
Featuring two CDs taken from the master tapes (although the ‘Sounds On Sunday’ session from 1973 doesn’t sound like it), one of off-air recordings and a DVD single with three performances from ‘One In Ten’ (plus a photo gallery, discography and pages from Denny’s notebook), this mostly features Denny accompanied by her own guitar and piano. Consequently, it’s not especially varied, with the best performances being four numbers from the Bob Harris Show with rock band backing and a rather psychedelic version of ‘Blackwaterside’ with Richard Thompson. Nonetheless, it does showcase a little-heard side of Denny’s work, and most of the material is supremely melancholy. GRADE: B–.

Sandy Denny (UK): Sandy Denny (Universal 532 869-5, 19CD, with gatefold minisleeves, book, booklets, folder, inserts, photos, postcards and poster, some with signed art print, 2010, recorded 1967-1977)
Sandy Denny (principal vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Aside from Nick Drake, it’s hard to think of another artist who enjoyed relatively modest sales in life but such fetishisation in death. Unlike Drake, Denny placed three albums in the top twenty, and also unlike Drake she left behind a wealth of demos, live recordings and other unreleased material – hence this gargantuan archive collection. The first eleven discs compile all her released material with Alex Campbell, Johnny Silvo, the Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and the Bunch and as a soloist, though only the tracks on which she takes lead vocals, so several albums are missing at least a couple of cuts. Most of these albums feature bonus material, including several unreleased takes. Aside from one disc featuring a (rather average) live Fairport performance from the LA Troubadour, the remainder feature unreleased demos, though even then I don’t believe this includes everything from her earlier boxed sets or the double-disc deluxe editions of her albums, indicating what a tsunami of material there was. With the demos being far more enjoyable (and far better recorded) than the norm, there’s no sense of mediocre recordings being exhumed for their own sake, and taken in totality this makes a pretty unassailable case that she was a truly world-class singer/songwriter as well as a truly great folk singer. As a footnote, the packaging is nothing short of stunning, with the first 100 (of 3000) copies additionally featuring an individually dedicated art print. GRADE: B.
Sandy Denny (UK): 19 Rupert Street – With Alex Campbell In Glasgow (Witchwood Media WMCD 2053, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2011, recorded 1967)
Sandy Denny (principal vocals, guitar), Patsy Campbell (occasional vocals)
Just when everyone thought that every scrap of music Denny had recorded had been anthologised, repackaged and remastered, up popped this session from August 1967 (a few months after the material for Alex Campbell And His FriendsSandy And Johnny and It’s Sandy Denny was taped). With inevitably rough recording quality and chatter remaining between (and sometimes within) the songs, it’s more a historical document than a musical masterpiece (although an important document, including the first known take of ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’). However, it’s clear that the bottom of the Denny barrel is now being quite thoroughly scraped. GRADE: C.
See also Bunch, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Strawbs

Denvers (UK): Liverpool-Party (Polydor LPL 2820, France, 1965?)
Jenny Hutchins (joint lead vocals), Pauline Riley (joint lead vocals)
No prizes for guessing that this is Merseybeat, but it’s slightly more surprising that it was only released in France (unless you know differently) as it’s a good album of its type, given some distinction by dual female vocals. GRADE: C+.

Depressed Mode (Finland): Ghosts Of Devotion (Firebox, CD, 2007)
Natalie Koskinen (occasional vocals)
There’s nothing particularly wrong with this epic doom metal album, which soars in all the right places. But there’s nothing particularly distinctive about it either, and for the most part it simply sounds like a pastiche. GRADE: C+.

Franck Dervieux (Canada): Dimension ‘M’ (Columbia FS 90072, with booklet, 1970)
Christiane Robichaud (lead vocals)
Dervieux was briefly in remission from cancer when he cut this album, which is dedicated to the three doctors who extended his life. This adds considerable poignancy to what is otherwise a rambling and diffuse (though enjoyable) album of keyboard prog. The backing musicians comprise many of the luminaries of the Quebec progressive scene, including his colleagues in Contraction, who would go on to cut two albums without him. GRADE: C+.
See also Contraction, Yvan Ouellet, Ville Emard Blues Band

Deshalb (West Germany): Deshalb (No label, 1984)
Rock/New Wave/Progressive/Jazz/Avant-Garde
Isabel Ortiz (joint lead vocals), Sabine Steinort (joint lead vocals), Christa (joint lead vocals), Marion Olsowski (clarinet)
This oddball mixture of new wave and vaguely jazzy prog, expressed via 19 short songs (or perhaps more accurately, fragments) hints towards Swiss Chalet-era Cos and Fourth Wall-era Flying Lizards as well as the French underground but doesn’t closely resemble any of them. Some tracks consist of keyboards and electronics, while others offer snatches of tripped-out band jamming, heavily percussive and with funky bass, topped off with mainly female semi-spoken vocals, all drenched in echo and effects. None of it really goes anywhere, but it’s an intriguing set filled with fascinating diversions. GRADE: C+.

Design (UK): Design (Epic E 30224, USA, 1970)
Kathy Manuell (joint lead vocals), Gabrielle Field (joint lead vocals)
Sounding a few years behind its time, this is an unusual album for a British band, being gentle, breezy sunshine pop/folk. Influences from the Mamas & The Papas and the Fifth Dimension are most obvious, although this also bears a passing resemblance to everyone from Free Design to the New Seekers. Unusually for the genre, almost everything is self-penned, but the lush orchestrated backing is par for the course. As a footnote, a UK pressing, with a completely different sleeve, followed in 1971 (Epic S 64322). GRADE: C+.
Design (UK): Tomorrow Is So Far Away (Epic S EPC 64653, 1972)
Kathy Manuell (joint lead vocals), Gabrielle Field (joint lead vocals)
Unlike its predecessor, this contains several cover versions, with the most notable being an odd interpretation of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ that’s both loungy and mildly avant-garde. For the most part, the disc is in the same vein as their first, albeit with a slightly more psychedelic edge here and there and some unusual use of the stereo soundstage. GRADE: C+.
Design (UK): Day Of The Fox (Regal Zonophone SLRZ 1037, 1973)
Kathy Manuell (joint lead vocals), Gabrielle Field (joint lead vocals, recorder, whistle)
Much more modern-sounding than their first two, this drops most of their sunshine pop influences for a distinctly British folk/pop sound. The Therapy cover ‘Pisces Hymn’ is baroque and rather psychedelic, whilst they also offer an accomplished funky reading of Carole King’s ‘I Feel The Earth Move’ and a fine version of Tom Paxton’s ‘You’d Better Believe It’ with some growling fuzz guitar. There are also several strong originals, including the beautiful, haunting title track and the majestic closer ‘When Morning Comes’, making for their best LP to date. GRADE: C+.
Design (UK): In Flight (EMI EMC 3032, 1974)
Kathy Manuell (joint lead vocals), Gabrielle Field (joint lead vocals, recorder)
Even more contemporary than Day Of The Fox, this virtually defines the word ‘whimiscal’, mixing folk/pop and pop/rock with rich harmony vocals and a breezy, summery feel. A couple of tracks display a distinct 1930s influence, and even these are enjoyable, whilst the best cuts manage a shimmering, almost psychedelic, West Coast feel. Overall, it’s the perfect musical accompaniment to a garden party in the blazing sunshine.

Design (UK): By Design (EMI EMC 3113, 1976)
Kathy Manuell (occasional vocals)
Their final album is a good deal less folky than its predecessors, mostly offering straight mid-seventies MOR pop. On ‘Looking Thru The Eyes Of A Fool’ they sound like the New Seekers gone glam, on ‘Guess I DIdn’t Want You After All’ like early Abba and on the Cockney singalong ‘Banging On The Old Piano’ like Chas & Dave performing at the music hall. Pleasant as this is, it’s all strikingly inconsequential, and it’s no surprise that they called it a day just as punk started to emerge. Talking of punk, Kathy Manuell later married Sex Pistols producer Dave Goodman and resurfaced in a number of psychedelic and new age acts. GRADE: C.
Design (UK): One Sunny Day • Singles And Rarities 1968-1978 (RMP RETRO 919, CD, 2012, recorded 1968-1978)
Kathy Manuell (occasional vocals), Gabrielle Field (occasional vocals)
This collection of non-album tracks, demos and obscurities yields a few gems: notably the lovely B-side ‘Lazy Song’, the Beatles-esque 1969 outtake ‘Child’ and the strange, theatrical, almost proggy 1975 demo ‘Calais’. An odd, synthesiser-led version of the showtune standard ‘Day By Day’ is also rather interesting. Sadly, most of the rest is typical seventies MOR fluff and considerably below the standard of the music on their albums.

See also New Age Radio

Desperate Danz Band (UK): Send Three And Fourpence… (Happas HAPPAS 1, 1989)
Lynn O’ Shay (keyboards, flute), Louise Mackenzie (violin)
As the punning band name suggests, this unusual LP consists entirely of traditional Scottish tunes played as electric folk instrumentals. Whilst it doesn’t rival the Dutch band Avalanche in the instrumental folk/rock stakes, it’s a good and lively LP, with robust drumming and strong performances from all the instrumentalists. GRADE: C+.

Deutsche Wertarbeit (West Germany): Deutsche Wertarbeit (Sky 049, 1981)
Dorothea Raukes (synthesisers, sequencer, drum programmes, vocoder)
This isn’t actually a band, but simply a pseudonym for the solo project of Streetmark leader Dorothea Raukes. It’s all-instrumental synthesiser music combining elements of prog, pop and new age – not unlike Streetmark’s Dry without any songs or rock elements.

See also Streetmark

Devil Triangle (Italy): Darkotic (New Metal Master NMM 001, CD, 2005)
Zelinda Manson
This offshoot of Antonius Rex offer a grab-bag of metal styles on ten short tracks, the better of which sound like modern Antonius Rex. The effect is a bit fragmentary, making this a marginal case for a B–, but the dynamic riffing and assertive drums are pretty persuasive. Zelinda Manson’s role is unclear – there are no detailed credits and the vocals are all male. Come to that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zelinda Manson is a figment of Antonio Bartocetti’s imagination and the whole thing was recorded by him and Doris Norton with various collaborators. Similarly, we can safely assume that an earlier album by the band – 1985’s Firewitch – supposedly recorded by the duo doesn’t exist, despite being offered for sale at 400 euro on one of Jacula/Antonius Rex’s various websites. GRADE: B–.

Devil’s Blood (Holland): The Time Of No Time Evermore (No label van029, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Farida Lemouchi (lead vocals)
I’d expected this highly acclaimed album to sound like Blood Ceremony, but in fact it offers a mixture of seventies hard rock and psychedelic styles (often recalling Thin Lizzy in the guitar work). It’s a strong album for sure, with the intensity steadily building as it continues, but it never quite fulfils the hype. GRADE: C+.
Devil’s Blood (Holland): The Thousandfold Epicentre (No label VÁN062, CD, with 8" book sleeve, 2011)
Farida Lemouchi (lead vocals)
Their second is in the same basic vein as their first, but vastly more progressive and experimental; they’ve added the missing ingredient of really great riffs and tempo changes. In particular, ‘Cruel Lover’ is downright superb, but this is a very strong album throughout, with especially fine performances from the lead vocalist and drummer. The lavishly packaged limited edition, with an 8" book sleeve, features some excellent artwork. GRADE: B.
Devil’s Blood (Holland): Tabula Rasa Or Death And The Seven Pillars (No label VÁN092, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and poster

booklet, 2013)
Farida Lemouchi (principal vocals)
Album number three sees the band reduced to a duo of Farida Lemouchi and brother Selim, who contributes guitars, bass and programming, with live drums only being used here and there. It’s an ambitious record, with tracks of up to 22 minutes, but it’s also as thin-sounding as you’d expect and terribly ponderous too, frequently meandering for minutes on end with nothing much happening. After its illustrious predecessor, it’s pretty disappointing and one hopes they recruit a proper band (and don’t stretch the material so thinly) next time around. GRADE: C+.

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