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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anubis Spire

Children of a Foreign Faith

Review by Gary Hill

I've liked Anubis Spire from the start. They've always had a strong, accessible, yet challenging sound. There has always been a certain awkwardness to the music, though. Don't get me wrong, it was never enough to take away from the enjoyment, but enough to lend a quirky texture to it. Well, with this disc that's gone. What you get is Anubis Spire on steroids. This concept album has more of finished feeling to it – like all the pieces are right where they belong. You can still tell that this is Anubis Spire, but it's just a lot stronger than anything else they've done. If you liked their previous releases you really need to pick this up – immediately. If you haven't heard them yet (why didn't you buy the Got Prog? Sampler CD, anyway?), I can't imagine a better first impression. I'd have to say that fans of Pink Flyd will really find a lot to like here. I keep hearing echoes of that band throughout. For more information (including sound samples and ordering information) check out the band's website.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lies
This cut is a killer combining elements of Pink Floyd with King Crimson bombast. It's probably a bit too metal for prog purists, but this thing really rocks. The vocals in particular call to mind Floyd and the well-place sound bites add to this effect.
Remember Me?
If the last one brought to mind echoes of Pink Floyd, this does it to an even greater degree. From an extended introduction that feels like something from Wish You Were Here to the song proper that seems as if it could be a missing track from The Wall sessions.
I Have Been Waiting
And now for something completely different, this one pounds in with metallic fury, calling to mind any number of epic metal bands. The changes and alterations, along with some killer Eastern tones, elevate this into the level of progressive rock, though. At times you might hear beefed up Emerson Lake and Palmer and even King Crimson on this mix. You might also hear some Queensryche here. It seems like each tune just gets better than the ones that preceded them.
Not Even A Day
The riff that brings this one in reminds me of Led Zeppelin and early Aerosmith, but that sound is not the order of the entire day here. Other more prog like aspects come into play, as well. It might be the first point on the disc where I don't feel that it surpasses the music that came before, though. That said, it's not a weak song, just not as exceptional as the others.
Edge of Time
Here we get a total change of pace with a mellow number serving as a reprieve to the fury of what has come to this point. The Pink Floyd leanings are strong on this one, too. Again, it's not a standout, but a solid song that serves both as a change of pace and to pulling the disc forward.
Children of a Foreign Faith
The title track rises up from the last cut, continuing in its mellower approach. While that song remains quite sedate, though, this one moves upward with a more powerful, but still melodic and balladic approach. It turns a bit more crunchy later with an instrumental foray, but still doesn't rise to the metallic levels of some of the other music here.
Adrift
Pretty keys serve as the backdrop for this sedate piece, a short instrumental.
Tombs on the Hill
This comes in heavy and dark, made to feel even more so by the series of sedate tracks that precede it. I wouldn't call this “metal,” but it's quite crunchy and a little raw.
Down Here
A sound bite along with ambient textures leads this one off. The guitar chordings that enter to bring this up again call to mind Floyd. This is essentially a ballad.
All Perception is Wrong
With Eastern tones this one stomps in feeling a bit like a more metallic version of Rainbow. As this carries on it tends to resemble Hawkwind quite a bit. Pay attention for the musical quote of Hendrix later. A synthetic voice is a nice touch, too.
Western Wall
A church bell leads this off. Effects build from there to a crescendo, then something that feels like a more progressive rock oriented Europe takes it. This serves as a short building process, but doesn't last. Instead the cut is dropped back to a mellower section for the first verse. As they rise up from there, those prog-like Europe sounds are back. The cut alternates between these two motifs. Eventually this moves out into a more powered up version of its main themes, but it works back to the song proper from there.
You're So Beautiful (The Music Biz Song)
A classic rock texture with psychedelic overtones makes up the motif on this one. This is catchy and one of the most accessible cuts on show here. You might hear echoes of The Kinks and others on this one.
Eternal Resonance (Part Two)
This is a short, world music intoned instrumental that calls to mind Ravi Shankar and psychedelic bands.
Waterline
Here we come back to the moody, mellow Floyd-like sounds. This one doesn't go far, but when you start off in such a great place, why travel? The mood and tone of this are simply awesome.
Something You Don't Know
Starting with ambient tones that make me think of early Marillion, this moves into another understated piece that feels both like that band and Pink Floyd. Again, the overall mood is what makes this one special.
Walking the Wire
The sounds of a storm and a spoken voice leads this off. Eventually musical modes rise up from this start and we're off on another Floydian romp. This serves as a very satisfying conclusion to a dynamic and powerful disc.
 
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