Column from August 2nd, 1999 issue

People love to divide music up into categories and subgroups. Melodic rock might have a relatively slight audience at this point, but we’re still all busy creating as many subdivisions as we can. The reason I feel this worthy of mention is that one particular term seems to be getting somewhat misused these days, even in this publication! "Pomp Rock" is the term in question. Judging by some recent comments I’ve read there seems to be an alarming number of people who think "pomp" is AOR with a few extra keyboards – not at all! Pomp is all about progressive influences, banks of keyboards, pumping bass lines, and singers with funny pouts! Styx’s "Grand Illusion" is probably the seminal pomp album, but it was brought to its peak by bands like Roadmaster (the song "Hey World" is everything that embodies pomp), MPG and Starcastle. It’s not overtly heavy, but there has to be some sort of keyboard and guitar interplay. Most of the classic pomp bands took influences from British progressive bands (Gentle Giant was one that inspired many) and gave it an extra does of American directness and commerciality…. Hope that’s a help and the term can start being used properly again!

MP3 freaks should take a run over to http://www.mp3.com/artists/34/norway.html where New Jersey band Norway has two complete songs for their debut album "Night Dreams" available for download. Norway have also completed recording of their second album (which is still untitled) in the UK. A release date is currently expected in early November on Now and then and it’s the first release under a two album deal Norway has with that label….

German band Winterland also have a whole load of MP3s to download at http://www.mp3.com/artists/32/winterland_germany.html. Six complete new songs are available, so give them a shot….