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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ruthless Orfanz

Examish

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s make this point perfectly clear – progressive rock purists will hate this. They will consider it to have nothing prog about it. Well, frankly, I think they are wrong. I’d say that this disc showcases the manner in which newer musical acts are throwing away all the boundaries of music and blending styles that have traditionally been isolated from one another. These guys have a definite punk and garage rock sound to them. Still, they pull in classic rock textures and progressive rock changes and sensibilities to create a sound that transcends all those genres. This disc is without question not for everyone. I personally do not like everything on the CD, but I definitely like most of it a lot. I also have to applaud their sense of risk-taking.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Neveread
A fast-paced percussive texture gives way to a killer metallic riff that leads the band into a jam that has both elements of early punk rock and classic rock. The vocals have a Cheap Trick meets Billy Idol and The Cramps approach. This one isn’t the first choice for prog rock, but there are some intriguing changes to bring that element to play here a bit. This is a stylish high-energy introduction to the CD. The extended instrumental segment is a nice touch. This gets very powerful and creative as it moves forward, turning to something more like a dark progressive metal.
Man For A Day
The sounds of a scratchy record begin this. The voice of John F. Kennedy comes in atop this backdrop. As the former President speaks odd textures come across at the backdrop at points. As this extended introduction ends the group set off on a powering up process that has more definite prog elements. This is dark and twisted, but also quite progressive rock natured. It’s an intriguing piece of music. They launch it out into some crunchy jamming later. I particularly like the intriguing vocal arrangement on this one.
Stone of Luv
This comes in with a bluesy sort of riff that creates a grinding pattern to the track. This cut is a bit unusual with a rather garagey approach on the production. Frankly, I don’t really like this one at all, and I’d consider it the “skip” number.
This World Turnz
A more definite neo-prog texture makes up the sound for this killer rocker. This is one of the strongest pieces of music on the CD. It moves through a number of intriguing changes, but the overall texture is that of a prog-oriented, hard rocking jam with punk and other elements in play.
Fairyland
A punk hard rock texture creates the mode for this piece. It’s another where the only real prog elements come in the changes and off-kilter nature of the song. The garage band sound is all over this one.
Bridges Burn
Fast paced and retro in texture, this is another unique piece of music. It’s kind of like Pentwater goes punky. As garagey as this is, it’s also one of my favorite tunes on the album.
Summertime
A weird sort of progressive rock meets surf music approach makes up the grinding jam of this song. It’s another (albeit odd) highlight of the CD. It also includes some of the most effective instrumental sections of anything here.
Dry Yur Eyes
This has that grinding metallic grind to it, but it also includes some very pretty textures over the top of that. This is another odd track, but also one more that fits into the “highlight” category.
Road to Cadaques
They close this off with a composition of world music meets fusion and prog all in the course of a space rock jam. This is probably the most adventurous piece on a disc that is full of songs that take chances. It’s definitely one of the highlights and a great choice to close the disc with.
 
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