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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Point of Ares

Enemy Glory

Review by Gary Hill

You really will probably never hear another band that sounds like this. Taking art rock influences and a very strong literary basis, Point of Ares adds in elements typically not seen in this genre of music. They draw from alternative sources (primarily Patti Smith) and have a wonderful garage band charm. Since punk (and the alternative movement that sprung from it) was, in a large part, a knee jerk reaction to the progressive rock movement of the `70`s, there is a certain poetic justice in seeing that movement being incorporated back into art rock.

The production on this album is a bit harsh at times, but there are still some very interesting and unique musical moments to be found here. The lyrical content of the album is based on a fantasy novel written by vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Karen Michalson. The other personnel in the band are Karen`s husband, Bill Michalson, and Kevin Dion.

Enemy Glory can be purchase on CD for $11.95 (Free dragon stickers included with each purchase) (MA residents add 5% sales tax) plus $2.45 shipping and handling from Arula records. Send a check or money order drawn on US funds and made payable to Arula Records to:Arula Records, PO Box 332, Southbridge, MA, 01550. Please include your name, address and telephone number on all personal checks. Credit Card Orders can be made by telephone at(800) 484-5088 - Code 4150.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
North Country
This power trio sort of instrumental opens the album. Quite an intriguing brief piece.
Ghost In the Flesh
Again running in the power trio mode, this one takes on more elements of alternative music, almost a bit Hawkwindish at times, too. The drums on this track could have been mixed a little more subtly, but this piece does combine good elements of art rock with sounds of Patti Smith.
Sunnashiven
Sunnashiven has a more heavy metal sort of approach, at times bordering on Kiss and early Rush, this is actually a rather infectious tune, though.
Threle
The first few measures here are quite sedate and pretty, but then the song jumps into a frantic power trio jam. This one combines progressive elements with that wonderful garage band charm for a very unique combination.
Mock's
This instrumental has a very interesting feel. A rather intriguing bass line drives the track and imparts a somewhat strong art rock texture, while the guitar brings on an early `60`/punk sort of feel to the number. This feel continues through what is really an extended intro of about 2 minutes, before the number shifts gear a bit, more towards a harder edge, actually reflecting the harder edged punk of the `70`s, with some metallic influences. However, even in this section, the art rock influences still show through.
Track
Track is an unaccompanied spoken word piece.
Games
This one is in a sort of alternative mode, but the bass line seems to impart two aspects. The first thing it adds is an art rock sort of texture. The second thing that it gives to the track is an odd sort of dissonance that is a bit uncomfortable for my sensibilities. However, there are a lot of magical moments on this track really.
Windlass
Rush, and early punk influences combine here to produce an interesting art rock sort of feel. The bass guitar is very driving on this piece and the lead guitar work is quite interesting.
What Gryphon?
What Gryphon? is an unaccompanied drum solo.
Second Epilogue
Again a sedate intro gives way to a track which is more high energy. This is my favorite piece on the album, and combines many interesting musical elements. Among those elements are the classic surf guitar sound (that so influenced much punk), art rock, Rush, and Patti Smith. Eventually, the piece drops back into the sedate for the conclusion of the track.
Slouching Toward Chaos
The intro to this song could easily have been pulled off by any number of punk bands, like the Dead Boys, but the central structure of the song, while still maintaining some of that punk feel, has a more driving sort of texture and is overrun by some interesting guitar soloing. In fact, this piece really showcases one of my personal favorite aspects of music (which you don`t often see these days). The aspect to which I am referring is where an instrument would be soloing while a vocal line was going, sometimes running counterpoint, sometimes simply independent of each other. That aspect is quite present on this track.
Trackless
This is another spoken word track, but this time accompanied by bass guitar, in a somewhat psychedelic/art rock mode.
Last Day
The main melody here is quite haunting. This is definitely a good track, although, it is such a perfect marriage of styles that it is really hard to pick one style to call it. Certainly, it contains the alternative bent, and the art rock sensibilities, but the combination is really quite seamless.
Battle's One
This one is another high energy track rooted heavily in the punk/alternative traditions, while the art rock influences still come out.
And Back
This is a very brief reprise of North Country, bringing the whole album full circle.
 
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