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Roswell Six

Terra Incognita: A Line in the Sand

Review by Gary Hill

I continue to be astounded with the quality of music coming out in 2010. I’d have to say that, at least in terms of quality, some of the best music in a long time is being released in 2010. This album is no exception. It’s the second part in a series created around a series of science fiction books. The disc features many people who should be familiar to prog rock fans like Steve Walsh, Michael Sadler, Charlie Dominici, Arjen Lucassen and Henning Pauly. The disc presents an amazing amalgam of metal and progressive rock. Ultimately, I’d consider it metallic prog rock. It’s an awesome album right up there with the best concept discs of all time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Barricade

What an amazing piece of music this is! It starts with an atmospheric sort of movement that reminds me of Pink Floyd. Then it screams out with an Eastern-tinged bombastic motif that’s part metal and part progressive rock. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Operation Mindcrime era Queensryche. The guitar solo is more purely prog and they tear out into this crazed, King Crimson meets Queensryche (King and Queen, eh?) type jam.

Whirlwind
This powers out with a fast paced jam that’s like a more metallic Kansas. It drops down for an almost funky movement, and the vocals come in over the top. This really does feel a lot like Kansas, but taken to a whole new level. It’s a catchier cut than the opener, but no less compelling. The vocal arrangement later, with it’s almost call and response motif is tasty. The whole song is just full of surprises.
The Crown
Mix Kansas with early Rush in a smoking hot arrangement. You’ve got a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. Although, that doesn’t take into account the jazzy intro. This is a screamer that’s more straightforward than the previous couple pieces. It does turn a bit symphonic later with some bits that even make me think of Yes, just a bit. 
Loyalty
A slower moving, balladic cut, this starts off with just piano and voice. As other instruments join, it stays understated. It reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons. It gets somewhat involved as it continues, and powers out into a rather jazzy rocker later. A lot of the more rocking section feels like Toto to me. Still, I make out some Queen and some Yes in the mix at different points. 
My Father’s Son
This powerhouse has a lot of Eastern musical elements built into it. It’s also got some quite metal musings. Still, there is a lot here that makes me think of Kansas. It’s an unusual and very powerful track. The guitar solo on this is particularly tasty and they twist and turn the piece in some cool directions. It drops down to near ambience at times. 
When God Smiled on Us
On another album I’d probably call this track “heavy metal.” It certainly has plenty of metal elements. That said, this has some intriguing changes and alterations. It’s dramatic and powerful. They really do take us out in some interesting directions. 
Need
This one feels almost soulful in a lot of ways. It reminds me of something from Alan Parsons, but with a harder rock edge to it. There’s also a cool mellower motif built into parts of the song. This is a screamer in terms of emotion and power, but not as metallic as a lot of the other music here. 
Spiral
A powerhouse, this combines metallic sound with symphonic elements. It’s a swirling sort of rocker that’s incredibly cool. You can definitely make out some Kansas in the mix here. The melodic and soaring guitar solo on this is especially tasty. 
Battleground (instrumental)
Starting off symphonic, this turns heavy and rather metallic. It fires up into more metal territory as it carries on, but enough prog remains to call it progressive rock. It turns towards a metallic Yes at times and we get more of those Eastern elements built into this. It is another killer jam and is quite dynamic with some intriguing changes. There is even a neo-classical jam later. 
Victory
A melodic cut, this is a little more straightforward, at least at first. It powers out from the balladic into a sound that has some symphonic elements built into it. As this continues it shifts and turns and becomes all kinds of things. We even get some hints of Celtic music at points. This becomes very triumphant as it carries on, but with a title like that, what do you expect?
 
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