• 9.5/10
    PARALLEL OR NINETY DEGREES - A Can Of Worms - 9.5/10


ProgRock Records
Release date: January 27, 2009

User Review
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This is a warning; if you don’t like songs that last for more than ten minutes, there’s no need to read further! However, if you are a fan of Progressive Rock with long songs, complex structures and excellent musical skills then you need to continue reading.

Parallel Or Ninety Degrees was formed in 1996 as a keyboard based duo by Andy Tillison Diskdrive and Sam Baine. They first recorded an instrumental live album called Sanctum/Acoustic Lens before they released their first vocal album the same year (1996), The Corner Of My Room.

In 1997 they became a five piece unit and released the album Afterlifecycle. Three more albums followed before the band was put on hold due to the emerging success of Tillison Diskdrive’s The Tangent project in 2002. Though The Tangent is well-known to most Progressive Rock fans, Parallel Or Ninety Degrees isn’t a band most people have heard of. Make no mistake though; this is Progressive Rock of extremely high quality.

A Can Of Worms is a double disc that gives us a journey through Parallel Or Ninety Degrees’ best songs. There are a total of fifteen songs here or said in another way, two hours and thirty-eight minutes of pure joy. This “best of” album has a comprehensive selection across the previous five albums, but it also includes some unreleased tracks from their 2002 album session (recorded a year after the release of their last album More Exotic Ways To Die). Among others you get the Parallel Or Ninety Degrees’ original version of The Tangent’s “Four Egos, One War” and a version of “Blues For Lear” featuring Roine Stolt on guitar and vocals.

Though the latter song is a pure Blues song, it fits the album great and breaks up the structure of the album a bit. The song is a bit repetitive and after eight and a half minutes you can grow a bit bored, but all in all it’s so different from everything else on this record that you completely disregard the slight lack of development. And there is no question about Roine Stolt’s skills, both as a singer and as a guitarist; he makes the song his own in a way.

The brilliant “Space Junk” is very much based on the keyboards and effects, but it’s also a song that goes from Heavy Rock to a more psychedelic keyboard part in the middle, before a sudden transition to a kind of Techno Rock with programmed drums. Now, programmed drums aren’t something you usually hear in Progressive Rock, but it actually fits this part of the song.

“Unbranded” can bring your thoughts to the King Crimson song “Cat Food.” This can also be heard to some extent on the album opener “A Man Of Thin Air.” It seems King Crimson has had a huge impact on Parallel Or Ninety Degrees’ sound. You can hear this both in the structures of the songs and also Tillison’s voice and the way he sings.

The best part about A Can Of Worms is perhaps that you get the entire “Afterlifecycle” sequence presented as one track. It’s a half hour of your life that you’re willing to give away on any given day. Most of the song is very keyboard based and certain parts are filled with effects and weird sounds. It seems that Parallel Or Ninety Degrees’ focus is on using the keyboard as an atmospheric tool instead of trying to impress their fans with keyboard shredding solos.

A Can Of Worms is a fantastic re-introduction to one of Progressive Rock’s most underrated bands. The individual skills of the members are great, but Parallel Or Ninety Degrees doesn’t put the focus on the individuals, but rather the band and the music as a whole. All the songs on this album put the music in the front seat, and the individuals second. Over two hours and thirty minutes of high quality music should be enough to tempt most people, so if you’re even remotely interested in Progressive Rock then there are no questions about it; you need to buy A Can Of Worms.

Tracklist for A Can Of Worms

Disc 1:

  1. A Man Of Thin Air (off More Exotic Ways To Die (2002))
  2. The Single (off The Time Capsule (1998))
  3. Unbranded (off Unbranded (1999))
  4. Modern (off No More Travelling Chess (1999))
  5. The Media Pirates (off The Corner Of My Room (1996))
  6. Promises Of Life (off The Time Capsule (1998))
  7. Blues For Lear (feat. Roine Stolt) (Previously unreleased)
  8. Space Junk (off Unbranded (1999))
  9. Petroleum Addicts (off More Exotic Ways To Die (2002))

Disc 2:

  1. Afterlifecycle (off Afterlifecycle (1997))
  2. Embalmed In Acid (off More Exotic Ways To Die (2002))
  3. Four Egos One War (Previously unreleased)
  4. Fadge Part One (Previously unreleased)
  5. A Kick In The Teeth (Previously unreleased)
  6. Unforgiving Skies (off The Time Capsule (1998))


– Andy Tillison Diskdrive / keyboards, vocals, guitars, drums
– Sam Baine / keyboards
– Graham Young / guitars (track 2.1)
– Lee Duncan / drums (tracks 1.2, 1.6, 2.1, 2.6)
– Jonathan Barrett / bass (tracks 1.2, 1.6, 2.1, 2.6)
– Gareth Harwood / guitars (tracks 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.8, 2.6), Vocals (track 1.6)
– Guy Manning / guitars (tracks 1.2, 1.4), vocals (tracks 1.4, 1.6)
– Alex King / drums (tracks 1.1, 1.3, 1.7-1.9, 2.2-2.5)
– Ken Senior / bass (tracks 1.1, 1.3, 1.7-1.9, 2.2-2.5)
– Dan Watts / guitars, devices (tracks 1.1, 1.7, 1.9, 2.2-2.5)
– Roine Stolt / guitars, vocals (track 1.7)


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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