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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Genre Peak

Preternatural

Review by Gary Hill

It took me a while to review this CD. You really have to be in the right mood. Frankly, I’m putting it into progressive rock because I’ve seen a lot of other people lump Genre Peak in there, but I’ve also seen them listed as electronica. Perhaps that’s closer, but I’d almost say they are new age part of the time, but techno most of the time. This is a good CD, but a bit boring after a while because it could use some variety.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hell on the Surface
The first half of this track feels like it might be some techno or industrial band. We get percussion with vocals over the top. Then a shift brings us some lush keyboard elements over the top. This turns a corner into a weird little bit that brings back the techno sounds with some space rock keys in the mix. A spoken vocal line and other elements give me the feeling of Belew era King Crimson as they continue. The closing section is pure techno.

Wear it Well
This one comes in rather tentatively. As Stick enters it really begins to resemble modern King Crimson. They stay in that sort of a motif for a while, but the female vocals bring another plate to the table. At times this feels almost jazz-like. It drops to a spacey weirdness for a mid-section, but returns to the sounds that came before to continue on. Still later they return and then create a bit of a groove before dropping it back down to end.

Rama
Sparse and mysterious, this one has some really weird textures as it enters. An instrumental, at times this moves close to Kraftwerk territory, but then it drops back.

Different Dangers
This stands head and shoulders above the songs that preceded it. It’s got more energy. It’s also rather like something from Kate Bush – but still there are modern King Crimson elements and certainly some Porcupine Tree in the mix. I like this one a lot. There’s also some tasty piano soloing in the middle of this. As they carry towards the conclusion that piano seriously controls things.

Blue Filter
With a different arrangement this could fit on a European prog metal album. It’s pretty and potent and features paired male and female vocals. This has an almost gothic feeling to it a lot of the time.

Amena
This is pretty weird. Percussion and odd keyboards serve as the backdrop for a poetry reading. There is some singing here and there. As strange as this is it’s still quite cool.

Wear Your Ruin
Here we have a stripped down and moody piece. It’s definitely atmospheric and strange, but I don’t think it’s progressive rock. I’d put it in a lot closer with the moody ‘80’s electronica.

Ethersleep
Here we have a very weird cut. It basically fits into the more ambient side of RIO. It’s essentially a textural tone poem.

People Go Missing All the Time
How’s that for a cheery title? The track is very minimalistic and moody. This is cool, but quite odd. Around the half minute mark (this song is over nine minutes in length) this takes us into a more energized section that has as much in common with bands like Tears For Fears as it does with progressive rock. It doesn’t stay around long, though and they drop down to ambient weirdness to carry forward. Then a little before the six and a half minute mark they bring it back upward with a return of this more rocking sound. They work through some changes and alterations from there taking us back to the main structure of the composition.

Absence
They bring us back to Nine Inch Nails territory on the opening here, but that’s just because it’s only rhythmic. As keyboard layers join this is more in keeping with moody modern progressive rock. The track is pretty at times, but it’s really getting hard to stay awake by this point. They need to change things up. Everything is beginning to sound like one monotonous song.

Wear Your Ruin - Steroskop mix
Well, they change it alright. This is a bouncy, techno take on the earlier track. If the originally wasn’t prog, this one definitely isn’t. It’s also no where near as cool as the first version. All I have to say is “welcome to the club.”

Wear Your Ruin - Kiss & Fly mix
Now, this remix is much better. There’s more character to it and yet it’s still got a high energy essence. I like this a lot and it’s actually one of the highlights of the CD.

Etherdream
While in some ways this is related to the other “Ether” song, this is far more musical. It has some intriguing textures and a I like it a lot.

 
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