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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

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Review by Gary Hill

While this band is being billed as prog metal, frankly, I think they fit more firmly into the progressive rock category. While there certainly is a lot of crunch on display here, they show a wider range of sounds than that limiting factor would seem to indicate. Frankly, there are no sections of the album that I would consider to be straight metal, but there are plenty that I would think of as pure prog. The sound overall seems to be a bit like Dream Theater, but also (due mostly to the vocals) this feels like what Iron Maiden might sound like if they were a prog band. The result is a very strong disc that should appeal to anyone who likes his or her prog with a heavier, crunchier texture.

Track by Track Review
(So) Father
Starting with a sound bite that sounds like it could have (but didn't) come from the J & H Productions tape (for those who haven't heard this - google it and you can find it free to download), this comes in heavy and feels a lot like Dream Theater. The band work their way through several variations and changes in musical theme, turning in a killer hard-edged prog cut. An instrumental break late in the track has some great work from all involved. There is a cool, but brief keyboard solo later. This is a scorcher and makes for a great disc opener.

You Walk Away
While this one is also DT-like it is angrier and more prog oriented at the same time. One instrumental segment feels like Emerson Lake and Palmer at times. This one seems like it could be a prog Iron Maiden.
My Own Life
Eastern based tones start this rocker that has a bit of a mysterious texture. Throughout a lot of the track it doesn't differ much from the style of the last two, but then a major melodic verse gives way to a cool, almost jazzy prog jam. Then a neo-classical guitar solo segment takes it to the next step.
Start Again
A cool keyboard segment start this, then they rock it out quite well. This one has a bouncy quirky tempo. They drop it to a keyboard dominated prog section, then jump it through a short DTish section, then pull it back to the prog Maiden/DT like elements. This one is dramatic and dynamic and the best on show thus far. Sound bites come across later as a powerful, slightly metallic prog theme plays across, then this stomps in with very crunchy fury. Dramatic keys begin to play across this. They move back to the main themes to carry on, then a keyboard solo enters and the band move through a new fast paced rock and roll oriented section. This drops out to a short bluesy keyboard solo for the outro.
Deep Inside My Heart
This is a pretty ballad based on keys and voice.
I Will Stay
They stomp in hard on this one, and this is the most metallic one on show thus far with that proggy Maiden sound all over it. They turn it more DT-like as they carry forward. Eventually, though, it turns super heavy before returning to where it came from.
Safe the Light
A keyboard dominated intro leads the band into a killer jam then it drops to a staccato, more stripped down pattern for the verse. They bump it back up a bit to carry forward, but revert to the verse segment to continue from there. This moves out into a killer bouncy prog riff, then moves upward again to the next movement, once more quite Dream Theaterish. It turns later to a pretty melodic, almost prog ballad-like portion. They pull it back up later. A keyboard-dominated section takes it and then it shifts to the heaviest mode of the album before moving to something more like Dream Theater.
Such A Shame
Originally recorded by Talk Talk, the vocals that start this almost feel reggae-like, but as the music enters the familiar DTish patterns return to carry this one forward. This gets quite powerful as it continues onward. They drop it back to a line of just voice and piano to end.
Nothing Left To Say (Unforgiven)
Lightning fast riffing starts here and the band quickly merge this with the heavy prog sounds that dominate the disc. The verse is more tame with the powerful vocal performance being the key point there. They ramp it up from there, then a new neo-prog section carries it forward. This again feels a lot like a prog Maiden. It moves through a number of differing sections, but maintains a consistent nature. This turns much more melodic later, then builds back up in waves. It drops to just keys, mostly a haunting piano line, for a time. The one vocal remains overtop for a satisfying conclusion to the song and the disc.

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