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Oceans of Night

Domain

Review by Gary Hill

Some might call this heavy metal, and others, like myself, will put it under progressive rock. The thing is, for any project that includes Scott Mosher quality is guaranteed. Here we get another collection of killer tunes that fit well into a hard rocking AOR progressive rock category.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Domain

Waves of keyboards open this and hold it in atmospheric ways for a time. Then a new keyboard progression enters and we get some spoken words over the top. From there a wave of guitar rock hits and threatens to take command. Around the two minute mark that sound powers this thing out in a great hard edged AOR style. The vocals come over the top of this backdrop. It’s pretty certain that the prog purists will argue with this disc landing into the progressive rock category, but crunchy as this is, there’s plenty of prog in the mix. There’s a killer instrumental section later in the track that seems to alternate between more of a straight ahead hard rock sound and proggier elements. After that section it drops out to a pretty keyboard dominated movement that’s dreamy and more decidedly progressive rock like. Somehow, as the spoken words come over the time it reminds me a bit of Captain Beyond. Bits of hard rock show up here are there before (around the ten minute mark) they fire back out into the harder rocking sounds from the previous section. It drops way down to just keyboards for a time. Then around the fifteen minute mark it fires out to the most metallic section of the piece. The guitar shreds during this instrumental section. They eventually take it out, but the track is over seventeen minutes in length.

Don't Look to Me
Keyboards also open this one, but then give way much more quickly to harder rocking progressive rock. While this cut is based on a more straightforward progression, there’s less metallic sound built into the mix. It focuses more on harder edged rock than metal.
So Near Yet So Far
A meaty, crunchy jam brings this one into play. They drop it to a bit mellower movement for the entrance of the vocals. The cut works through a number of changes and variations. At times it’s more progressive rock oriented and at other points it’s closer to heavy metal.
Dreams in Artificial Sunlight
Atmospheric keyboard dominated musical elements serves as the backdrop for spoken female vocals early on. This section eventually builds out to harder rocking sounds that carry it onward. Then it drops way down to just a heartbeat to end. This might only be around three and a half minutes, but since it’s an instrumental, it doesn’t seem that short. In addition, it covers quite a bit of musical territory.
Divisions of Time
Parts of this cut probably cross the bridge further on the progressive metal side of things. The song structure resembles a progressive metal tune with alternating harder and softer sections. It still fits in some ways into progressive rock, but if the whole disc were like this, it would have landed into metal. Still, I’m a metal head, too – so this works.
Seven Days of Rain
The basic musical concept of hard rocking progressive rock with a big nod to AOR is intact here. This is a powerful cut that’s quite cool. The keyboards and vocal performance are both worthy of special notice here. There’s also a cool instrumental section later with some exceptional guitar soloing.
The View to You
This one powers in out of the gate with a metallic passion. When it drops to more atmospheric sound for the vocals, I’m reminded a bit of Trevor Rabin era Yes, although those vocals are definitely not in that vein. That harder rocking section returns later. Still, further down this musical road they take it out into a more decidedly progressive rock oriented jam for the instrumental section. It drops down to a keyboard driven section from there, then the bass guitar brings an almost Rush-like sound to the table. Guitar screams over the top of that in a killer solo movement. Eventually it leads back to the song proper.  
Instruments of Fear
Packed with twists turns and changes, this instrumental is awesome. It seems to combine Dream Theater, Rush, Steve Vai, King Crimson and Metallica with different parts of that equation ruling at different points.
The Future Remembered
In a stark contrast, mellow and delicate waves of keyboards open this track and maintain control for the first minute and a half. Even when it does change, it’s more keyboards that bring the change at first. In fact, it’s two and a half minutes in before the vocals join. Guitar and harder rocking elements are added after that point. Although it does get rather metallic, that section doesn’t last long as it drops to just the keyboards before the four minute mark. That instrumentation takes it out.
Ghosts of the Past
The album closer is a more straight ahead AOR prog jam. It’s still in keeping with the rest of the album and it’s very strong.
 
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