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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Engine of Earth

Engine of Earth

Review by Josh Turner

This trio represents the next generation of progressive rock. They borrow only from the masters of each epoch. Their leader, Dan Alexander, is a cross between Keith Emerson, Neal Morse, and Steve Katsikas. Therefore, Alexander plays the keyboards as he sings. I’m not sure how he could do this without a head-mike. So some kudos need to go to the manufacturers of this neat widget.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

To provide some history, I saw them play live at the Milwaukee Area Rock Showcase – That would be MARSfest for short. They played among others who were technically astute such as the band members of Dimension X, Far Corner, and Karcius. Yet, these 18 year-olds stole the show and were the talk of that cramped locality for an entire day. There is no guitar. This doesn’t matter as Casey Nieznanski’s howling bass and Mike Kennedy’s sleight-of-hand on the drums do everything in their power to make you forget about it as quickly as a farfignewton commercial. In their only release to date, they give us these three intelligent and loquacious songs.

 

Last I spoke to them, they wanted to find a label that would help them go pro. To contact them for a copy, hear a sample or sign them, go to their myspace site.

Track by Track Review
Host of the Fallen
This is catchy, creative, and original. The keyboards are full-on in your face whereas the lyrics are syrupy sweet. If this doesn’t say prog to you, I don’t know what will ever convince you that today’s youngins are still being influenced by yesterday’s legends. On the flip side, these guys certainly put their own twist on the niche genre. Even so, they are quick to reference those who have fallen at the claws of dragons so you know they are authentic.

The Gates
This is more Goth in nature. After the bells toll, there is a creepy buildup. Aspects of this sound like early Flower Kings; possibly “Judas Kiss.” Beethoven and Mozart would be proud of their direction in the bridge. They skillfully and seamlessly urge this classical interlude towards a prominent outro with words.
City of Iron
Engine of Earth continue to keep this fresh. While incorporating styles and tricks that made the first two songs work, they speed up the verses. In a way, this is Alvin and the Chipmunks on crack, and it’s an interesting technique to implore in their final mantra. Hopefully, this is not the last we hear of them.
 
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