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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Reverend Agony

Staring Into the Abyss

Review by Gary Hill

Hard rocking and quite industrial in nature, this is a cool disc. These guys are from my hometown area and I really never expected to hear a band this good at this type of music from Northern Illinois. Fans of Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus and other bands should really like this group.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Upon the Horizon
Noisy electronic elements start things here. Before the 30 second mark those drop away and a distant kind of guitar element begins. The tune rises up gradually from there. it has a weird, trippy, dark psychedelia vibe to it. That extended, and rather strange, introduction gives way to a pounding, driving techno metal kind of sound. Distorted vocals come in over the top as it drives forward. Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson both seem to be big reference points on this piece of music. It's noisy, but that's the point. The arrangement on this great really loud and dense before its over. There is a short, mellower bit of trippy textural sounds at the end.
Far Away From Here

This is moodier and almost prog like at times. I am reminded a bit of some of the moodier Hawkwind music on the mellower sections. When they scream out into the more metallic sounds it’s got a Cradle of Filth sort of texture. The continuing alteration between these two stylings is quite tasty.

Oral Solution

There’s an almost awkward charm to this. It alternates between moody and harder rocking territory – much the same as the rest of the music we’ve heard so far. It’s not so polished, though – and that’s kind of a cool thing. They turn into something completely different later. Take a healthy dosage of Nine Inch Nails. Add in some Powerman 5000. Then stir in just a little punk rock. You've now got a good idea of what this frantic rocking movement sounds like.

Visionary

Powerman 5000, Nine Inch Nails and Hawkwind all share some ground here. This is furious and powerful. We even get a little Bauhaus and Kraftwerk on one mellow segment mid track.

Suffocation (Of the Masses)

Piano starts this, but they quickly launch out into one of the most brutal musical journeys of the set. This is noisy and yet that piano remains some of the time bringing some beauty to the table. This has a lot in common with Cradle of Filth. A beat box takes the track after a false ending. They take us out into a techno meets classic metal instrumental journey from there until it drops to ambient keyboards.

Inducing Dementia
The first section of this reminds me of early Rush just a bit. They fire out into another Powerman 5000 meets Hawkwind sort of movement from there. This also has some of the most purely metal sounds on the set. We get some tweaked out horror movie music to segue into the next cut.
The Paranoia Slowly Takes Over

At six and a half minutes in length, this is the most massive track on show. It’s also the one that doesn’t get into hard rocking territory. The first half of this is a dark, and pretty, keyboard dominated instrumental that calls to mind Hawkwind and Pink Floyd. The second half twists into a bit more weird territory, but doesn’t really change the general motif. It’s a good piece of variety on a disc that could get a bit monolithic without stuff like this.

The Burden of Knowledge

Screaming and hard-edged, this is another frantic rocker that’s fairly extreme. It’s a good tune, but this format is starting to wear a bit thin here.

Behind My Fears

In some ways this suffers a bit from the overly similar approach. Still, they do manage to change things up a bit here – and just plain raise the ante, making this cut stand out.

Embracing Reality

Cradle of Filth is very much the order of business on this track that alternates between pounding techno music and more textural sounds. It really screams out at times.

Time Will Kill Us All

The first couple minutes of this are quite mellow with ambient keys and whispered vocals making up the music. As they continue on there’s an odd pop rock twisted into something strange section and then we’re back into deep ambience. There’s a weird harder edged segment later. This has some cool moments, but is also a bit too strange at times.

Starting Into the Abyss

They alternate between mellower and harder rocking motifs on this moody cut. It’s another that suffers a bit from the lack of variety. The vocals are rather hard to take at points here, too.

Welcome to Forever
Gloomy, this has a pretty keyboard oriented texture. It reminds me of something from Porcupine Tree. After it ends there is several minutes of silence.
 
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