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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ajalon

The Light At the End of the Tunnel

Review by G. W. Hill

This album is a progressive rock work of considerable merit, whose lyrical content consists of competent and well-written Christian themes. The musicianship on this album is quite inspired and competent, and the album also features some strong vocals. Many influences seem to poke their heads out on this one, most notably, Genesis, Yes and Marillion. This is certainly one of those albums that improves with repeated listenings.

On Rick Wakeman`s Hope Records, the lineup on the album is Wil Henderson, Randy George and Dan Lile, backed by several other musicians. The album can be ordered directly from the band at Ajalon CD, c/oGNMS, 10415 Beardslee Blvd, Bothell, WA. 98011. Please send a money order made payable to Ajalon:$15.00 CD plus $ 1.50 Postage & Handling US ($ 2.00 Canada & $ 3.00 all other countries).

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

Track by Track Review
The Illusion of Permanence
Starting in an almost fusion sort of mode, this piece features a considerably quirky arrangement in places, while still being quite accessible. The track really has a Genesis sort of feel to it. The tone to the guitar on this track is quite interesting.
Spiritual Fire
The intro to this number seems to call to mind Jon Anderson from the Song of Seven/Animation period. This track contains some interesting rhythmic patterns, exceptionally strong vocals, and actually seems to be a bit reminiscent of Supertramp in places.
Girl On A Swing
This piece is a nice picked guitar sort of ballad, quite pretty and well done, and features a tasteful saxophone solo.
A Thief In The Night
The intro here is a very quirky and powerful progressive rock section, which drops into a verse which is perhaps a bit reminiscent of some of the better work of Asia. This is really a well-arranged and potent track and features a couple guitar-based instrumental breaks that are quite effective.
To Fly With You
To Fly With You is a vital piece, although a bit more in a pop sort of mode than a progressive mode. However, there are several instrumental breaks here which heavily call to mind Going For the One/Tormato/Drama era Yes.
Commonwealth
This is another potent number, which features some almost funky bass work in the first verse, and some solidly progressive stylings in sections of the song. The arrangement here certainly has moments of greatness.
Light At the End of the Tunnel
Beginning in acoustic guitar based stylings, and containing some chord changes a bit reminiscent of Triumph, this is a majestic and passionate piece. The latter sections of this track contain some more decidedly progressive sort of song writing.
The Long Road Home
I. So It`s Come to This
This section of the piece begins in a definite old Genesis type of direction. That sort of texture continues on as the song progresses, although the leanings certainly do contain original influences as well. Once this section drops into the main song structure, it takes on a moody and dramatic sort of feel.
II. Famous Last Words
Here the piece is solidly a ballad, although alternating between a latter day Fish era Marillion and some distinct Genesis sounds, still maintaining a solid sense of it`s own identity.
III. Brush With Life
As the song progresses into the next section, it continues more in the spoken word sort of Marillion mode, calling to mind the Misplaced Childhood era rather nicely.
IV. Free At Last
Carrying on, this section of the song continues with the Marillion sort of styling, while incorporating Drama era Yes type leanings. The keyboard solo here has a nice 70`s AOR prog sort of feel, somewhat in the vein of Styx.
V. The Long Road Home
This closing section begins in a pretty and emotional jazz influenced mode. After a solid balladic verse, the piece jumps into some nicely moving progressive modes, again calling to mind old Genesis. This piece serves as a competent conclusion to the album.
 
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