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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Genre Peak

Ends of the Earth

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always felt that a lot of the more moody new wave music of the 1980’s had a lot in common with progressive rock. It seems to me that Hogarth era Marillion turns to some of that sound for their inspiration. Well, now we get this disc from Genre Peak, which seems to be a pretty definite amalgamation of the two sounds. While the effect is pretty intriguing and the music is good, there seems to be too little variety on the disc, causing it to seem to blend together a bit too much. I’d love to see what these guys do next, though, because when it works well it’s incredible.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bring Me The World
As the moody bass heavy mode that begins this kicks in, it’s simply awe-inspiring. They drop it back to a stripped down structure for the verse, the vocals feeling a bit like something from the more moody of the new wave bands from the 1980’s. Musically, though, this feels like something along the lines of Peter Gabriel. I like this one a lot and it makes for a classy opening number. It turns a bit towards a funky disco texture during the instrumental break.
Always Empty
A techno rhythmic structure serves as the backdrop for this sedate, but quite evocative and moody number. While there isn’t a lot going on here, it’s a nice place to stay for a while.
Pleasure To Burn
Here we get the first truly energized cut on show here. While the rhythm section is still holding down an almost dance music sound the overlayers of guitar bring in something more challenging. This seems to be a good combination of the sounds of bands like Frozen Ghost and neo-prog. A noisy guitar sound wanders across the top of this in an intriguing way throughout much of the piece. This eventually drops back to more of the music we have become used to hearing on the disc and then seemingly moves directly into the next number.
Point of No Return
Sedate techno type rhythmic structures make up the backdrop of this one accompanied by keyboards in waves of lush and moody tones. Crunchy guitar sounds come in as the cut picks up the intensity.
Ends of the Earth
While the overall stylings aren’t different here, this has a more stripped down and yet more powerful arrangement. I’d say that this number is one of my favorites on the disc. It’s pretty and evocative. The segment later with its wandering guitar ballad texture feels just a touch like old Genesis or perhaps Marillion.
Skin
Bouncy keyboard sounds make up the backing of this number. It has a strong texture to it.
Night Falls On Chance
Just in time (this was all starting to feel a bit too similar) we get a change of pace. This one has more of a noisy guitar texture to it, feeling a lot more industrial / techno in nature, but there is also a healthy dosage of old school psychedelia in places.
Microsphere 13
This pretty instrumental is quite textural in nature and one of the most progressive rock oriented tracks on show here. It’s quite electronic and has a lot of drama packed into its course of play.
Microsphere 3
This electronic instrumental number is a bit stranger than the one that came before it. It’s solid, but I prefer its predecessor. This one just seems to be a bit too weird at points.
Microsphere 8
Another instrumental, this one seems to be the best of the three. It feels at times like Hawkind to me just a bit. It gets noisy and a little chaotic, too – feeling at moments like the more moody King Crimson music. It turns to noisy space before ending.
Ends of the Earth (Arp Mix)
This remix of the title track is even stronger than the original version, leaning more heavily on the keyboards. I like the groove of this one a lot. In fact, I’d say that this more energized rendition is my favorite song on the disc.
 
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