An important date on every prog heads calendar each year is the annual Rites of Spring Festival, known to everyone as RoSfest. To coincide with the event, MRR Music Group each year release a compilation, and ‘Upload Me IV’ was released alongside the 2018 festival. What made this compilation different from the others as it only featured 100% upcoming, unreleased demos and mixes from future Peacock Sunrise Records and Melodic Revolution Records releases. This means we have rare material from PSR artists Allison VonBülow, Joe Mac’s American Garage, and John Blangero, while from MMR we get Andy John Bradford, Blå Lotus, JoJo Razor, Kracked Earth, Murky Red, Scarlet Hollow, SL Theory, Thoughts Factory, and Time Horizon.

I do know most of these artists already, and the others I was aware of but hadn’t heard any of their music, but samplers like these are designed to introduce listeners to new music. With two labels who have a similar philosophy (well they are both owned by the same person), it is not surprising that anyone who already knows any of the artists concerned with this will find plenty on here to enjoy. But if you don’t know any of the bands, then this is the perfect way to discover more. Go from the Seventies with Blå Lotus, to the wonderful voice of Allison VonBülow or the sheer immediacy and joie de vivre of Scarlet Hollow, and compare that to the darkness and passion of Murky Red. This sampler is designed to be a voyage of discovery, and once the listener has noted who they really like to go and find more albums by them. I still remember Cyclops label owner Malcolm Parker moaning at me years ago that he attended a ReGenesis concert, and at the time had a double CD sampler of the label which he was selling for just £5, with a full booklet and photos. The concert was a sell-out but even those who came and looked at the CDs just picked them up said they didn’t know any of the bands, and put them back down again. Don’t be like those people, use this as a great opportunity and broaden your musical horizons today. Your ears will be forever grateful.
8/10 Kev Rowland