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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Inca Maya

Inca Maya

Review by Gary Hill

This might not be the most obvious choice for inclusion in the progressive rock section of Music Street Journal. The truth is perhaps half of the CD I really consider pure progressive rock. When you figure that the rest of the disc is essentially retro rock ala classic rock, then it seems like something proggers would enjoy. Whatever you want to call it, this disc has a great blend of sounds that entertains. They change things up enough from song to song to keep it from getting stale at all. This is a cool CD and a great listening experience. If you add it to your collection you’ll find yourself coming back to it over and over again.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Where You Are
 Over the first minute of this is in a world music meets jazz approach. They bring it up with a keyboard shift and then pound in with a sound that’s not all that far removed from a lot of the neoprog groups. This is crunchy and oh so tasty. There are some more world music motifs woven into this track later and then we get a screaming guitar solo segment further still down this musical road. It turns rather metallic at times here.
Insomnia
They lead off like a pure reggae song. After a verse, though, they move into a smooth sort of groove that’s much more in keeping with modern neo-prog. As they transition back out from there the track seems to combine these two elements into one cohesive slab of tasty goodness. The drums take over for a time. Then keyboards rise and the group launch out into an extremely dramatic jam that for some reason feels to me like it would be at home in the soundtrack to a James Bond movie. This is incredible. Eventually it gives way to a reprise of the groove segment.
Destinado
Here we get a funky fusion jam. Much of this feels like it could have been lifted off an old Motown disc. It’s a great groove with a definite retro tone. The guitar solo on this track is simply incendiary.
Let It Roll
A Black Sabbath-like riff is heard back in the mix, feeling distant. Then they fire out into a smoking funk jam from there, calling to mind Red Hot Chili Peppers. When they bring us out into the chorus that modern prog rock sound is all over this. As they fire out into the instrumental section later any question about whether this is progressive rock or not is removed. I’d have to say that this is one of the highlights of the disc and it covers a lot of musical ground – all tasty. We even get a cool Deep Purple like build up before they come back out of the instrumental segment.

Temple of Stone
The acoustic guitar motif that leads this off reminds me a lot of something from Jon Anderson’s solo career. They move out from there into a more pop rock oriented sound, but there’s still enough of a proggy element here to keep it interesting. The chorus on this is all neo-prog with both a killer vocal arrangement and some great music.
Highway
The funk is back in full force here. This has a killer riff driven structure and some great “wacka wacka” sounds.
Ghosts
This is much mellower cut that has a lot of jazz in its basic recipe. It’s a cool change of pace and includes a smoking guitar solo.
Blink of An Eye
Much of this song is in a screaming hard rock motif, but the bridge is where the more progressive rock oriented sounds emerge. This is extremely high energy and a killer song. It’s got a great retro sounding guitar solo and is one of the highlights of the disc.
No Tomorrow
This cut is essentially a ballad that is at times powered up. It’s a cool number and a nice change of pace.
Silver Linings
Opening with mellow jazz, here we get more Motown based jazzy funk. This is a cool jam. We get some killer horns and exceptionally tasty guitar solo segment on this cut. That second item is one area that definitely veers towards progressive rock by way of fusion.
Salvation
As this powers in it feels like it might burst out into some kind of metallic fury. Instead they shift into a retro rock textured piece with vintage keyboard sounds. They drop it back for the verse and we’re in more typically proggy territory – albeit with bluesy twist. They seriously power this out later on, but then drop it into a dreamy, jazzy ballad-like section mid-track.
The Simple Things
An old school bluesy rock sound with layers of gospel type backing vocals makes up the main motif of this track. It has a “I know that song” sort of texture to it. As they carry on they turn this into quite a serious rocking jam. Still, it has a definite familiar feeling to it. It seems like it’s a song that was released in this same recording in the mid 1970’s. This is a good piece, but I think perhaps something a bit more unique would have been a better disc closer.
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