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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Trespass

Morning Lights

Review by Gary Hill

If you are like me this band’s name will make you think of early Genesis. Certainly the album cover helps to contribute to that comparison, too. While this music is not exceptionally along the lines of that period of Gabriel and company’s career, it is firmly rooted in the same classic progressive rock traditions as that era. This one will be a major find for progressive rock purists, as it is vital new music that is based on the prog of the 1970’s. This is band (based in Israel) have produced an album that will call to mind such progressive rock stalwarts (old and new) as Genesis, Yes, Pentwater, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Gentle Giant, Happy the Man and The Flower Kings. For those who feel that newer prog bands have left the original era’s elements behind in creating their sounds, this is for you. For more information and to order this disc stop by their website.

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
Song of Winds
Pretty flute type tones lead this one off and an effective acoustic prog approach (with lots of medieval textures) is created around it. They eventually launch this out into a more full-on soaring sort of arrangement. The classical elements are still all over this arrangement. This instrumental (there are some non-lyrical vocals at point) makes for a great introduction to the CD.
Morning Lights
At over twenty-one minutes in length this epic certainly represents the biggest single chunk of the CD. Sedate tones start this in an atmospheric manner, but hint at power and majesty to come. The classical elements are back in full form here. As they move upward from there choral vocals come across. They work through several extremely classical variations on the musical themes in this extended introduction. At close to the two minute mark the cut begins to take on more rock elements. This has the feel of perhaps a Happy the Man or Gentle Giant as the classical themes are given more of a rock band treatment. Then the cut shifts into a segment that feels as if it could have come from one of Rick Wakeman’s mid-‘70’s solo albums. Eventually they move out into the first full vocal segment of the disc and I’m reminded of Yes, Genesis and even The Flower Kings on this. They move this through a number of varying segments, but still the old school progressive rock textures dominate. There are truly some magical moments here. There is Emerson Lake and Palmer like music built into this collage later. Every instrument and voice and every piece of music seems to have its place and time in this epic. I like this one a lot. It is definitely a thrill ride set to enthrall. I even hear some Pentwater on this. The little reprise of the classical themes that comes in after the false ending is a classy addition.
Ripples
While this cut is still rather long, it’s only about half the length of the title track’s epic proportions. Acoustic guitar starts this with a baroque sort of balladic approach. Those elements carry on while the group augment and build on the arrangement into a powerful classically based progressive rock jam. The segment that segues this part into the next is quite Yes oriented. Indeed the next fast paced musical journey feels like a nice combination of Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer. They take it out into a keyboard solo that has a lot of Emerson-like elements with swirling classical lines reproduced on synthesizer. This is dramatic and very tasty. Another linking segment takes it to a driving new motif that has more Genesis elements than anything thus far. They pull it down from there into a ballad approach for the smooth and melodic vocal section. Keep in mind that we’re almost five minutes in before the first lines of lyrics appear. After the verse they move out into a new and highly dramatic progression to carry the song onward. The classic progressive rock elements are so strong on this (and the entire album for that matter). You’d really think that this could have been released in 1974. They turn it later into a smoking fast paced, oddly timed jam that is one of the best on the disc. Mysterious keyboard elements take this after and move it on into the next instrumental journey, which again calls to mind Yes. This becomes more neo-classical as it moves onward. Eventually they pull it back to a renaissance (the era not the band) based prog segment that finally ends this in fine fashion.
Vivialdish
The liner notes say that this one is based on Vivaldi’s violin concerto in A minor, hence the title. As that information would lead you to believe this cut has a lot of classical music involved in its arrangement. They essentially put in a full prog band take on those musical themes to create a potent piece of music. It includes non-lyrical vocals, but is essentially an instrumental. This is another highlight of a disc that has no real low points. The instrumental work on this one at times steals the show.
Forest Birds/Fantasy
As one might expect the sounds of birds begins this. Eventually some elements of melody begin to appear. This is then worked into a very classically tinged prog rock mode that is extremely melodic and satisfying. There is a lot of drama and “fantasy” interspersed into this. They drop it back again to a Tull like flute solo with the birds accompanying it. Then the pull it up from there in a progression that is equally based in classical music and classic prog rock. Eventually just the flute and birds take the piece and those avian creatures end it. This instrumental makes for a very satisfying conclusion to an album that is an awe-inspiring return to the progressive rock of the 1970’s.
 
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