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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Point of Ares

Sorrows of Young Apollo

Review by Gary Hill

Point of Ares` debut showcased an unusual sound which introduced punk textures into the progressive rock landscape. This CD continues in that musical direction, but seems much more refined, showing that the band is honing their craft. The punkish, almost garage band charm is quite a refreshing change from what can at times be a rather sterile musical genre. The only piece of the puzzle that is still a little hard to get used to are the more punk oriented Patti Smith influenced vocals. They tend to be a little less melodic than that to which the prog fan`s ear is accustomed. However this is still quite an entertaining album.

Point of Ares is Karen Michalson and Bill Michalson. The disc can be purchased directly from 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
The Sorrows of Young Apollo
A brief spoken word intro gives way to metallic prog fury in the vein of Rush`s Caress of Steel era. The music ends and another spoken word monologue takes us out of the cut.
Hypatia
Combining prog sensibilities with Rushish metallic leanings and stripped down punky textures, this is a potent cut.
Dionysus
Another spoken word intro begins this tune. A crunchy metallic guitar line puts the number more into the progressive metal vein than prog rock. It has some rather tasteful guitar soloing running throughout. This one features an intriguing chorus and instrumental break. The bass work, in particular, on this instrumental break is quite effective.
Pygmalion
Beginning, as many of the tracks here, with spoken words, this time the central influence is more along the lines of `60`s rock, but the overall texture is a rather stripped down progressive rock feel. The keyboard solo on this composition is quite enchanting, and the harder rocking portion of the instrumental break is considerably catchy. Again, the keys really make that segment.
Apollo In Picardy
This piece is a brief spoken word reading. "To meet beauty once in a dull and gray life and never before and never again is to live in hell."
Leucothoe
Punky prog with metallic influences make up much of the sound of this song. Still, the overall arrangement is quite proggy. A very wonderful instrumental break that actually calls to mind old Genesis just a bit makes an appearance. Some segments of this piece are quite metallic in tone.
Miranda
A piano based segment leads to a melodic instrumental section. This is an interesting balladic prog piece, and contains a very nice instrumental break. The last verse is a partly spoken, partly sung accapella segment.
Cassandra
A mildly dissonant slow tempoed cut, this one takes a few listenings to be comfortable with. The song features a very intriguingly chaotic chorus somewhat in the tradition of old King Crimson. The arrangement on this song is probably the most interesting of anything on the album. The tune ends with one spoken line.
Cyparissus
The album`s intensity jumps back up with this metallic number. Despite its metal tendencies, prog textures are ever present here. The break is in an intricate prog ballad format, acting as a nice contrast to the crunch of the rest of the number. The piece slowly builds up from there to a fast paced metallically influenced prog tune with an effective guitar solo. Eventually, moves back to the familiar territory of the opening textures. An intriguing Japanese tinged musical segment serves as the backdrop for the spoken word final verse.
Asphodel
Starting in a mode somewhat like the gloomy alternative band Mazzy Star, this cut is a prog piece with a metallic chorus. This one also ends in a spoken word segment.
 
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