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Bodragaz

20

Review by Gary Hill

It seems hard to believe that Bodgragaz has been at it for twenty years now. Then, when I think about the fact that Music Street Journal is closing on 19 years, and I covered them early, it makes sense. This new double CD is set is a compilation of music they've recorded over that time. I'd say that the mix of sounds is pretty representative of this band. I have always landed them in prog, but they are crunchy. Perhaps metal is more appropriate. Still, the line between prog metal and metallic prog is pretty vague. I'd consider this a great introduction to the band, although it does seem to draw more heavily from some discs than others. I should mention that I've previously reviewed a lot of these songs. For the sake of consistency, those track reviews are copied or modified from the original reviews.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

                        
Hellraiser

This thing pounds in incredibly heavy and packed with crunch. It's definitely metal, but technical in construction. There are definite nods to the kind of stuff Queensryche have done in their more technical periods.

Symphony
Almost metal in its sound, the symphonic (synthetic) elements here keep this one in the lines of progressive rock. There is a lot of energy, and this really is a powerhouse tune.
God I
Jazzy textures begin this number. Once the intro gives way to the song proper, it becomes a rock ballad, again in a classic rock sort of mode. The chorus on this tune is definitely solid.
Shine
They start this off with a dramatic balladic type structure and that holds it for a time. Then it pounds out to more Dream Theater-like music to carry on. They drop it back to those ballad stylings later for a killer bridge and then power out into some serious proggy crunch jamming.
Dream On
A powerful and lush arrangement makes this a cool cut. It’s hard rocking and energized, but also quite AOR progressive rock in nature. There is some great, melodic and technical, guitar soloing on this beast and it’s another real winner.
We Are America
There is definitely a prog edge to this, but it's another cut that's very much metal. This is a powerhouse number with a cool martial drop back mid-track. that martial section returns at the end, along with helicopters that started the piece.
Red Sun
They drop things way down here for this mellower cut. It’s basically a symphonic and powerful piece of music that’s quite balladic early on in the progression. It gets some crunch later, basically turning it into a power ballad. They take it through several changes as the arrangement stretches out and there’s a scorching guitar solo.
Love Design

There is almost more of a pop rock vibe here. This is hard rocking as it continues. It's definitely not metal. It's quite prog like in a lot of ways, but is very AOR. I love the energy on this.

Long After Dark
Coming in much mellower, this has some seriously proggy elements with the keyboard sounds. It does get much more rocking later, too. This is another strong cut for certain.
Genevieve

This cut does a great job of contrasting mellower, more purely melodic progressive rock with harder edged stuff. While no one would ever mistake this for Styx, it wouldn’t be a big stretch to imagine Styx doing this. In general this is a bit crunchier than the classic Styx sound, but is pretty similar to the kind of hard edged AOR prog that Styx have always been so good at doing.

Disc 2
                       

Rise

They pound in here with a furious metallic movement, but there are bits of progressive rock keyboards here and there. They drop it down to a more ballad-like structure built around keyboards that serves as the background for the vocals.

Awaken

This fires out with a very metallic texture. As the keyboards come across and the group pound out into the main song structure this feels quite a bit like Dream Theater. The vocals seem closer to Vince Neil, though. The chorus has some more pure prog stylings.

Before the Winter

This comes in hard edged with a real classic rock turned proggy approach. It’s a smoking hot tune and a great way to start this off in style.

Strange Fascination

Set in a rock ballad format, again prog leanings pull this cut above the limitations of that genre. The number features a tasty guitar solo. "A journey confined, in the mind, transcending through, worlds we can fly."

Forever

Take Dream Theater and add a healthy dosage of Queensryche and you’ve got a good idea of what this sounds like.

Beautiful

Pretty keys lead things off here. That holds the introduction, but then crunch guitar enters. As they carry this forward it’s close to epic metal in its symphonic nature. They drop it way down for the verse and I’m suddenly reminded of Styx. It continues by combining these elements.

The Last Days
The opening here is more decidedly prog like, but there is some serious crunch on this thing. Comparisons to Dream Theater wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.
The Energy
If you want pure prog, look no further than the cool intro here. The keyboards and bass create an intriguing tapestry. From there we get some more crunch driven stuff. This is decidedly AOR based prog. The guitar solo is scorching hot.
Sailing On
This comes in with a trippy, hard edged prog sound. It gets more metallic as it moves forward. After that opening, this really is much more of a metal tune than a lot of the rest here are.
World Of Fantasy
While this thing is crunchy and one of the more metallic pieces on show, it’s still got a lot of progressive rock built into it. The keyboard layers are tasty and the piece is another that has some similarities at times to Dream Theater. Every thing on this tune just works so well.
Napster, LLC
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