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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jeremy

Kingdom Come

Review by Gary Hill

The latest effort by Christian prog artist Jeremy Morris, this one shows him to be progressing quite well in his compositional style. It is certainly the most dynamic and diverse release he has done to date. The only complaint from this reviewer is that I would still like to hear a vocal line here or there. Still, this has leanings of such prog and near-prog artists as Yes, Hawkwind, Vangelis and Pink Floyd, and with a 33-minute magnum opus for its title number, should be of interest to most fans of the genre.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Flying Hearts
An intriguing backwards rhythmic pattern begins this one. The acoustic guitar enters, and the mode feels very classic prog. As it begins building, the cut takes on a psychedelic texture at times. Then the guitar begins an intense jamming - all prog. This is an incredibly cool, and much too brief, track.
Ocean of Dreams
A somewhat Zeppelinish acoustic guitar segment starts this. As the keys come in, playing over that element, it feels more in the mode of Starcastle. Then the guitar drops out, and a neo-classically-tinged electronica element takes over for a time. This runs through and crescendos, getting rather intense at times. Then, a mellower evocative segment takes the composition. A new electronic segment enters in more atmospheric tones. It builds on this texture for a time, then turns more techno in nature before a new acoustic guitar line rises up to replace those modes. This one is rather folk rock oriented, but still is rather Hawkwindesque. The song builds on these themes, creating a new melody. This section continues building to an eventual crescendo, then a new Vangelis-like segment replaces it. It modulates into almost Floydian atmospheric textures. This runs through until a new triumphant sounding guitar segment takes the piece. This movement feels just a bit Yesish.
Flaming Hearts
This is a brief atmospheric piece with a slight melancholic tone.
Born of Water
The keyboard effects that begin this one feel a bit Hawkwindish, but as waves of sound begin gently washing over, the texture is more New Ageish. Eventually these elements begin a bit of a building process, then it turns far more atmospheric. The cut builds very, very slowly from this basis. This gets pretty intense at times as it carries on. It crescendos, then a new textural element emerges. This builds quite slowly and gingerly. It then bursts forth into a backwards section that has more energy. This plays through for a time and serves as the outro to the composition.
Children's Song
This is a playful, light-hearted number based on acoustic guitar, with the keys taking a "vocal line". Unfortunately, it doesn't really go anywhere.
Kingdom Come
Clocking in at over a half an hour in length, this title track certainly qualifies as "epic" in proportions. It begins slowly in atmospheric waves. After an intro based on these keyboard textures, acoustic guitar enters with a nice balladic melody and some wooshing keys in the background. As this builds it makes one think a bit of Hawkwind. The cut starts slowly growing and evolving, building upon themes for a time. Then the majority of the instruments drop out, and eventually only a wind remains. From this backdrop a new, fairly playful melody ensues with a bit of a Celtic feel to it. An all-new building process begins based on this structure. After a time, this also gives way to the wind. Then a keyboard structure emerges and the textures again grow and build, getting fairly powerful eventually. Next, the Celtic modes return to move the composition to its next phase, a dramatic one, based on an interesting keyboard sound. This runs through and incorporates themes from earlier segments as it builds. It reminds one just a little of Yes' "Awaken" at times. It drops back after some fairly intense moments to acoustic guitar again. Then a new electronic segment comes in and the cut starts another building process. This runs through, then drops back down to rather atmospheric areas, feeling very Pink Floydish, and just a little weird. Eventually our persistent companion the wind returns. Suddenly a new movement, essentially an electronic percussive cacophony emerges with seemingly aimless jamming over top.. Eventually the cut seems to struggle to find direction, but this does not last as the segment ends, and a new one (the hardest rocking sound on the disc) enters. This is bombastic neo-classical inspired prog jamming with a lot of grandeur. It wanders to more fusion-oriented territory after a time working through, then dropping to a mellower, more atmospheric texture. The wind again takes the piece after this. Then a new electronic percussive texture enters, and the cut starts building once more in electronic, Floydian modes - a bit Wish You Were Here-ish. Elements of a full out proggy blues oriented jam are hinted at after a time, and the song works towards another hard rocking segment, but never quite reaches it as this also ends. More sedate keys, accompanied by the wind enter. Jeremy plays with this for a time, again getting a bit Floydian, then drops it back before a new acoustic guitar progression enters. But, once again, this is short-lived, and more Vangelis-ish laid-back keyboard textures take over. This plays through for a time, the fades leaving the familiar wind, then a new mellow keyboard structure enters. Morris builds this up into a fairly powerful melody, then turns it intricate and pretty before it also drops away with another new delicate flower emerging and opening to replace it. This section works its way through and ends the piece. This is certainly the most adventurous and, arguably, the best cut of the CD, and possibly Jeremy's entire catalog.
Meadows
As the title might suggest, pretty acoustic guitar starts this piece in flowing balladic style, building very slowly. It erupts into brief moments of intricate fast-paced picking, then a new melody ensues, also quite gentle and organic in texture. The cut builds for quite some time on this theme, adding instruments and complexity, but not wandering far from its origins. A bit over halfway through, the pace picks up, but still this is quite organic in structure and eventually returns to the earlier mode. The consistency of this one represents a nice respite from the complexity of the previous number, and Morris was wise to include this as a closing piece. An electric guitar solo later adds a little flash, but still in a tasteful and flowing manner. This is an under-stated, but quite strong piece.
 
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