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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Eyestrings

Burdened Hands

Review by Gary Hill

If you like quirky modern progressive rock that draws upon old school prog (and at times more modern sounds) this disc is for you. I wouldn’t say that every song blows me away, but I would say that there’s nothing here that’s in need of the skip function. The music is quite varied (often times with multiple changes in the course of one track) and very strong. It’s a great CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Recovery
A powerful melodic prog jam opens this in fine fashion. As it evolves it drifts toward fusion a bit. It drops down to a mellower arrangement for the vocals. It works back out to the harder rocking stuff from a while. Around the three or three and a half minute mark, it shifts toward a dark, angry kind of modern prog. It has a definite techno element. The next vocals come in over the top of that almost making me think of the Deftones a bit. It fires out from there to a more modern prog jam that's crunchy and has some definite progression toward modern King Crimson type stuff. It drops back to a mellower modern prog sound from there. It gets into more rocking stuff, and there is a rather fusion-like jam. It gets metallic from there, but continues to shift and change working to more hard rocking modern prog. Epic in both scope and length, this tune is ten minutes long.
Itchy Tickler
A bouncy, more rock and roll, yet still prog rock, sound starts this and they move it once again through a series of changes and alterations. The thing that’s becoming apparent by this point is that if you don’t like one part (but why wouldn’t you?) just wait, cause this music is steadily shifting and changing.
Dead Supermen
This doesn’t have as many changes and alterations as the last couple tracks, but it’s far from staid. It’s a strong tune with a nice combination of modern and old school progressive rock leanings. It’s nicely quirky.
Anachronism
They lead off here with percussion and then we get a killer keyboard dominated riff. This is harder rocking and reminds me at times of Rush at other points of Dream Theater. Still, it’s also quite unique. I like this one a lot. It might be my favorite cut on show here. It’s definitely very dramatic and powerful.
Funnel
Another highly dramatic cut this at times reminds me of old school Genesis. It’s rather theatric at times. It’s got the ever changing scenario back again and some parts of this are really incredibly like Genesis, while I also hear King Crimson at times on this, along with ELP and Yes – how’s that for calling out to all the old school prog giants? It’s a real powerhouse.
Just A Body
This is more pop oriented in a lot of ways. It reminds me at times of vintage David Bowie – or Mott the Hoople. It’s almost as if some of that Spiders From Mars era music were merged with Genesis into one homogenous format. This is actually a great piece of music that’s both dynamic and cohesive.
Slackjaw
Bouncy and quirky, this is a bit strange, but also pretty cool. It’s a definite change from the rest of the album and has a little old school music in it. It’s rather bluesy at times and shifts toward some spacey jazz territory later. I make out some Buster Poindexter at times here – along with Dr. John. The instrumental section that takes this later is killer. It starts off jazzy and then moves out (through the layers of keyboards) into something that’s more akin at first to early King Crimson and later to Yes.
Nothing
Moody and mellower this is perhaps closer to modern Marillion or Porcupine Tree, but I can also make out some Jellyfish and Beatles in the mix.
Time Will Tell
Harder rocking, this has a more modern and rather accessible sound. It’s a cool tune and ends with some noisy space.
Empty Box
They definitely saved the best for last. This is a mini epic that weighs in at over twelve minutes in length. It works through a number of dramatic and powerful progressive rock motifs and is a killer track. You’ll hear various classic prog bands here and there, but yet these guys own the sound of this track.
 
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