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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Burning Saviours

Nymphs & Weavers

Review by Gary Hill

While this one might not be the most obvious choice for prog, there are certainly a lot of progressive rock influences here. These guys draw the majority of their sound from 1970’s hard rock and so much of that music was flirting with progressive rock. The thing is, I’d have to say that Burning Saviours have more prog in their mix than most of their groups. Enough of that discussion – so, what can we expect from this album? Those who enjoy 1970’s hard rock will find plenty of familiar ground here. While these guys don’t really copy any one band, their whole sound seems to be sculpted from that fertile musical ground. I love this album. Check out the Transubstans/Record Heaven site for information on ordering this.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Looking After The Phyre
This stomps in with a frantic riff driven jam that does a great job of combining the early metal textures with a more prog like motif. This is a killer that calls to mind Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath quite a bit. The vocal delivery reminds me of early Hawkwind or Pink Floyd. A great bridge later seems to bring in a motif that’s a bit like a more proggy Uriah Heep. We get an extremely tasty retro sounding guitar solo later in the midst of a killer instrumental section. After a reprise of the song’s central themes another smoking solo ends it.
Pondhillows Finest
This one comes in feeling a lot like Hawkwind, but it shifts out rather quickly to a more modern take on vintage psychedelia. The two modes seem to skirt around one another. When they drop it back to the verse section this reminds me a bit of Focus. They turn it to an almost Tempest like section in terms of the vocal delivery later. These varying motifs work their way around one another as they continue to redesign the track. There is a great retro keyboard solo on this one. Later on the track shifts out to a more full on psychedelic approach that takes it to an outro that feels a lot like early Alice Cooper.
The Spellweaver
This comes in with a serious vintage metal approach, feeling a lot like early Sabbath. The first verse is delivered in this mode. They shift out to a more full prog approach for the chorus, although it still seriously rocks out. This is worked out into an extremely melodic instrumental journey later that gives way to something akin to a prog ballad approach. The Black Sabbath section comes back to end this.
Woodnymph
Coming in with a very Jethro Tull like structure, this is another killer track. After the pounding introduction, they drop it way back down to a psychedelically inspired ballad approach for the verse. An instrumental section serves to break two parts of the ballad apart, feeling like a dramatic Uriah Heep song. We get a reprise of this section after more vocals and this time it shifts out from there into more hard rocking prog sounds. The Pink Floyd leanings (early era) are on this one. Flute brings back the Tull textures in another hard rocking, pounding jam. They make their way back to the melodic zone for the next set of vocals, but don’t drop it back down as far as they had in the earlier parts of the song. We get a dramatic, hard rocking movement for the outro.
Dreaming of Pastries
And with the holidays upon us, who isn’t dreaming of pastries? This fast paced rocker feels like a less metal Motorhead. It’s a real hard-edged screamer and one of the least proggy pieces here. Even though the musical motif is Motorhead-like the vocals have sort of an old school psychedelia approach. The chorus is rather in that style, too – feeling perhaps a bit like the Yardbirds. The instrumental section definitely brings back that Motorhead feeling, mixed with some vintage Ted Nugent.
Signs
This comes in with a vintage hard rocking blues sound. It feels a lot like Cream and perhaps Blue Cheer. “Signs” is another which has less prog leanings than the other material here. We are taken through the majority of the song in the same format as it starts. Later on, though, it shifts out into a fast paced jam that seems to combine the Yardbirds with early Black Sabbath. This is another strong number and, in fact, one of my favorites here. It may not be all that progressive rock oriented, but it’s very tasty.
Trinity
A classic, fast as heck riff leads this off. The group launch out from there into another hard edged retro rocker. While we don’t wind up really moving back into the prog zone on this one it is a strong number. It’s probably not one of my favorites here, but it still works well.
Hillside Mansion
Here we are back into the realm of Jethro Tull on the opening here. They work through a Celtic hard edged jam for the introduction. It drops back to a more stripped down rocking motif to serve as the backdrop for the Celtic verse. Once again I’m reminded of Tempest here. Flute on the instrumental section brings back the Tull references. A cool full on Celtic jam later leads us up into a new fast paced motif that is so much like Tempest it’s scary. This is a killer rocker and another of my favorites.
Exposed To The Heat of Solace
This starts slow and bluesy. As the full band joins in we get a treatment that feels quite a bit like very early Tull (remember when they were essentially a blues band). They pound out into a faster section that seems to combine this sound with Sabbath. An extended guitar solo takes it later and moves through some familiar melodies. They drop it from there to a slow moving groove that feels a bit like Black Sabbath. Some tasty guitar soloing comes over the top and after this the Sabbath textures are intensified. This rather plodding movement has some definite early Rush tendencies, too. We get some vocals over this and it actually feels rather like vintage Candlemass here. This carries the track for a while until they launch out into a new fast paced jam that mixes Sabbath with Zeppelin in a smoking excursion. They drop this back after a time for a mellow movement (one of the more prog like sections in the cut) to end. It’s another that, while perhaps not the most progressive rock oriented song on show here, really works well. It serves as an extremely effective closer.
 
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