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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mostly Autumn

Heroes Never Die

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit that before this compilation I’d never heard Mostly Autumn. My understanding of the band was that they were a Celtic based progressive rock outfit with a female lead singer. This disc has shattered some of those images and affirmed a couple. Yes, they have a female lead singer, but not on every song here. In fact, I’d say that there might be more tracks with male vocals than female. No, they are not Celtic based – at least not from what I’ve heard here. Yes, they are a great band, but I’m not sure I’d necessarily think of them as a very progressive rock oriented band. Sure, they have their leanings in that direction – and some songs are purely there, but the songs here are more mainstream album oriented rock. Of course, this is a compilation and, as such will feature the most accessible music. So, that makes sense.


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
Never The Rainbow
The picked guitar section that starts this makes me think of the mellower end of Metallica a bit. As it moves forward other instruments come over the top bringing it into more proggy territory. When it shifts out for the song proper, it becomes a hard rocking folk prog kind of piece. This is almost AOR metallic prog in a lot of ways. Yet there is definitely a folk prog element to the song structure. The keyboard dominated instrumental section brings some definite retro prog to the table. It works back out to a more powered up version of the main song to continue.
We Come And We Go
Starting as a mellower number, this powers out into quite an inspired rocker, although it might not be the proggiest thing here. The vocals and other outer layers of the arrangement really make this one.
Please
With male vocals, this reminds me a lot of something from modern Marillion or Porcupine Tree. There are some female vocals as backing ones later in the track and this thing really fires out into quite the rocker as it carries on. 
The Spirit Of Autumn Past
Here’s another that reminds me a lot of Marillion, although I can also make out some Pink Floyd early on. When it moves to a more folky segment early on, I’m not really taken by the vocals. This is another with the male vocals. It becomes an incredibly powerful jam later despite starting off balladic and rather understated. 
Evergreen
The female vocals are back on this beautiful number. It starts as a delicate ballad and then turns more powerfully arranged after a while. The vocals are quite pretty. The cut has some killer guitar solos and clocks in at close to eight minutes in length. This is definitely a highlight of the set. 
The Riders Of Rohan
Quite a prog oriented piece, this is another that’s got female vocals. This is powerful and beautiful, and yet comes in at less than four minutes in length. It’s a standout track nonetheless. 
This Great Blue Pearl
The male vocals dominate this one, but there are female ones, too. This is a cool rocker that’s one part singer songwriter piece and one part hard edged prog song. I like this one quite a bit. 
Noise From My Head
This is a tasty rocker with both mainstream and proggy elements. It’s another female vocal appearance. 
Half The Mountain
In some ways this reminds me of James Bond music. That said, it’s also got a great combination of Pink Floyd and Marillion. The vocals on this one are the male ones and this might well be my second favorite track on the whole set. It’s a powerhouse and one of the more purely progressive rock oriented pieces here. It moves out into a cool prog rock instrumental section later that serves as the outro later. 
Shrinking Violet
Essentially a powered up anthemic ballad, this is pretty and reminds me a bit of both Renaissance and Lana Lane. It’s a potent piece of music, but perhaps not really a standout – mainly because it’s a little too predictable. Weighing in at almost nine minutes in length this is substantial and does get quite involved.
Goodbye Alone
Another balladic cut, this one is dominated by the male vocals, but has both. It calls to mind Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. There is some symphonic instrumentation and the arrangement gets quite powerful later in the journey. 
Heroes Never Die
This is arguably the most pure progressive rock song on show here. It’s got a lot of varied segments and is definitely one of the most dynamic pieces. It seems to combine all the elements we’ve heard throughout the disc into one cohesive and powerful piece of music. At over nine and a half minutes in length this mini-epic is the most massive composition here. It is without question the best track on show – and the best way to end things on a high note.
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