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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ten Jinn

As On A Darkling Plain

Review by Gary Hill

Including an epic length number and influences ranging from Genesis to Tull and others, this album is definitely all progressive rock. The vocal arrangements on this release are one of its strongest points, but the music is not lacking in any way either.

Ten Jinn (John Paul Strauss, Mark Wickliffe, Mark Overhalser, Bob Niemeyer and Michael Mattier) are joined by a couple of guests on this release. For more info on this band, point your browser to their website at www.loop.com/~tenjinn.

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
As On A Darkling Plain
This is an epic vampiric tale done in 8 movements.

The Dance of Les Innocents
Spooky sound effects, and processed spoken word vocals makes up this introductory segment.
Darkling Plain
Changing to more standard prog fare, this one is not just "not dark", but even rather cheery, and almost pop oriented. Featuring nice vocal harmonies, this one is a bit Genesisish at times.
Byzantine Fire
Feeling very much like Genesis, this one starts with piano. It is good, rather bouncy prog.
Theater of the Vampires
Dramatic and neo-classical in nature, this one is a bit ELPish. It is a strong little instrumental that features some definite fusionish moments.
Those Who Must Be Kept
More rock oriented, this is another potent instrumental. It features a great keyboard arrangement and some tasty guitar work. It gets quite powerful towards the end of the number before descending into chaos and white noise.
Beautiful Marquise
Coming out of the abyss left behind by the last cut, this is somewhat dark and melancholy and definitely emotional. The number is rather metallic at times and features a wonderful instrumental break with very strong classical overtones. Some of the lyrics to this number are drawn from a poem by Anne Rice.
The Legacy of Magnus
Starting with spooky organ music, this one stays in that mode for a time. Then it becomes a bit more light in texture, although still playing on the same musical themes. This instrumental covers a lot of musical territory as it continues to progress and grow.
Run Away
Beginning with spooky vocal wailing, the first verse is done over this, a narration in a processed, creepy voice. The cut is harder edged prog. "Pulse of the night, A thirst to be on the other side, In love so sublime, I tear into your life, Lay it open wide, And so you will see, Through the eyes of eternity, Damn the light of day." This one includes a very strong instrumental break.
Lost in the Money
Starting a bit Celtic, this cut feels just a bit like Jethro Tull. It has some very definite prog dominated segments.

Blind Authority
Very traditional prog modes give way to more Tullish elements. This cut features some considerably tasty guitar work.

Rock
Nicely voiced textural keys start this cut, to be joined by a great piano bit. The song builds from this intro in prog ballad fashion and includes a potent guitar solo segment, great keyboard work and a strong vocal arrangement.
I Can't See
Neo-classical harpsichord is the intro to this song. After that short instrumental segment ends, rather playful and bouncy prog elements take over the tune. It features a very powerful and potent bridge that really makes the cut. The number also includes an entertaining instrumental break/keyboard solo. Harpsichord returns near the end of the composition.
Tomorrow
Beginning with a nicely arranged, dramatic prog instrumental segment, the cut drops to a vocal oriented segment and begins a slow prog build from there. Built in a very dramatic vein, this is one of the standout cuts on this disc. It leads straight into the next number.
Lay Down Beside Me (In The Rain)
Starting off a bit classic Genesisish, this one then becomes rather Tullish, but more keyboard dominated. This is another strong number in a classic prog tradition.

 
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