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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

PropheXy

Alconauta

Review by Gary Hill

There are those who would call this metal, but it’s a safe bet most metal fans would be turned away by a lot of this. It’s chaotic and twisted with plenty of fusion and progressive rock built into it. I like the disc a lot, but it is also rather hard to keep up with the changes sometime. There are sections here that would be more in keeping with the musical tastes of prog purists as some really fit well into more old school progressive rock. All in all, this is a diverse album from a bunch of musicians that show off tons of talent.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Illuminat
Sound effects and some distant music start things. From there it launches to some seriously hard edged, off kilter heavy metal meets fusion kind of sounds. The vocals bring it into more of an Italian prog vein. That said, there is some serious RIO turned metallic music built into this thing. I love some of the busy bass work on this. There are some weird shifts and changes on this thing. It's a safe bet that prog purists will hate this, but it's complex, meaty and quite intriguing.
Babba
Mellow world music sounds start things off here. The cut builds on these for a time before launching into something that at first feels like Dream Theater meets Jethro Tull. It evolves from there with Hawkwind-like space replacing the Tull and then when we drop back to more pure space for the vocals, that singing brings in some metal. Around the three minute mark it is dropped way down for a melodic mellow section that’s pure progressive rock. They continue revising and reworking these musical themes and this one is really even more dynamic and diverse than the opener. It’s pure prog, but yet there’s plenty of metal in the mix, too. It’s jam packed with changes, alterations and variations.
Scarto
This killer jam reminds me of fusion mixed with Rush. Of course, the references to Dream Theater are also warranted. At least that applies to the frantic introduction. They drop it way down for some nearly pure jazz stylings for the vocals and we’re off into a space rock meets jazz jam after that. They take us through a whole host of changes and alterations in what is arguably the most dynamic and varied track we’ve heard to this point. A lot of this reminds me of RIO. It’s hard to keep up with sometimes, but it definitely has some serious peaks and valleys. 
Fischio, come guarire un
This starts mellow with acoustic instrumentation. As it builds keyboard dominate for a time. Even once the vocals enter, there is no metal in this cut. It’s purely progressive rock and quite pretty – although it’s also diverse, moving through a few changes and alterations. That said it’s more cohesive and consistent than anything we’ve heard to this point. It gets more powerful and involved as it carries on, but it’s a safe bet this would be the best first introduction for the prog purists in the audience. They drop it back to a little bit of weirdness ala early King Crimson later – as they come back up from there, we get the track’s first bit of metallic textures. Still beyond that point there’s a King Crimson meets ELP and Yes kind of instrumental segment.
Plasticosmic
Fusion and progressive rock (with a little bit of ska for good measure) makes up this short track. It’s a cool one with a lot of keyboards and very little metal in the mix. There is a killer more energized segment later that has some tasty guitar soloing – but again, it’s got no metal. This is another that prog purists will be most drawn to.
Tritone
The opening tone here reminds me of early Black Sabbath, but from there it moves out into a segment that’s got more King Crimson and Pentwater in it than anything else. This is another varied and diverse piece of music and another killer with many flavors. There’s some theremin (or at least it sounds like it (on this – and I love that instrument – so they get bonus points for that. The mellower sections here have more of a jazz meets space rock feeling to them. Again, the metal is thoroughly purged from this one - at least for the majority of the cut. There’s a heavier section later that I’d consider more fusion, but I could see some calling it metallic. 
Qubo
This is more in keeping with the earlier music. Frantic and rather crazy changes are made in a fusion meets metal motif. It’s a cool track and after the break we’ve had from this more metallic music it’s a nice change.
C’รจ Vite sulla Luna?
As varied and diverse as the album has been up to this point, this track is the most dynamic. It’s also got some of the coolest music on show. The bulk has a lot of King Crimson in it, but certainly some will point to parts of this as being metal. For my money, though, it’s the best track on show – and that makes it a great choice to close the set.
 
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