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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

NQ3

Dot.Two

Review by Gary Hill

The music here is based in a motif that’s very much in keeping with old school prog rock. I can hear Yes and Genesis and others in the mix, but I can also make out bands like The Flower Kings. There’s a bit of an awkward feeling to some of this, but in a way that adds character and charm rather than taking away from the enjoyment.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Psychosis

The opening cut is about 17 and a half minutes in length. Melodic guitar starts things off here. As they work out from there it works to more of a fusion texture with the general intensity rising upward. I dig some of the guitar soloing quite a bit.  Multiple layers of vocals come in, a bit distant in sound. It does add somewhat of a psychotic (or at least psychedelic) texture. It reaches a crescendo and then drops back. The earlier sections return to sort of restart it. As they work into some jamming from there, I'm reminded of a proggier (less crunchy) Rush. The vocals return and we're not far removed from the psychedelia of early Pink Floyd. As it gets into more of a mainstream prog sound, the bass work at some times reminds me of Chris Squire. Around the seven minute mark it begins to dissolve into trippy space. They bring it in with a fast paced, harder rocking jam from there. This is a real powerhouse in a lot of ways at this point. It gets quite hard edged as it continues. I dig some of the instrumetnal work that comes across the hard rocking riff segment. It evolves back to music more like the previous stuff, melodic psychedelic prog. Then there is a resolution, and we're taken out to more pure mellow psychedelic rock from there. There is a cool melodic guitar solo that starts around 16-minute mark.  The melodic jam serves to hold the rest of the cut.

Massive Ascent
The hard-edged prog build up on this reminds me a lot of Yes. It’s got that killer staccato effect going on. There are segments, though, that are closer to Flash or Starcastle. It’s also a little rough around the edges (in a good way). Around the two and a half minute mark it drops way down to a mellower segment and a bass guitar wanders in the background. They turn it more towards a hard rocking jam and it makes me think of Anubis Spire a bit. We get more keyboard soloing as this instrumental continues. It drops back down and after a time the opening section returns. There’s a little Rushish bit later that takes us to the outro.
New Places - Wakeup and Live
A bouncy, melodic number, this is very much in keeping with a lot of modern progressive rock sounds. It’s quite pop-oriented, too. It’s got a definite psychedelic edge to it, too. Later they take it out into a cool jam that’s got some tasty keyboards. When they come back out into the song proper it somehow reminds me of Steely Dan.
BiPolar Stomp
An energetic prog rock sound starts us off and takes it into the vocal section. They work on this motif for a while. There’s an instrumental segment later that’s sort of a soaring exploration of the song’s main themes. After carrying through with that for a while we’re deposited back into melodic territory and the main song is eventually reborn.
Treeline
Almost ten and a half minutes in length, this is another that probably qualifies as an epic. It starts in mellow, balladic ways and builds gradually from there. It turns a little harder edged eventually and various instruments (including a violin) take their turn wandering over the top. This is taken in some intriguing directions and makes up the first half of the piece. Then they power it out into a rather fusion-like jam that feels just a bit like Yes at times. The keys solo over this. And then violin takes its turn. The keys come back at it again. A guitar solo is included later and it almost feels Satriani-ish at times. Then they crescendo and bring it out into an ambient keyboard dominate movement. It grows up a little from there to take the piece out.
Medevil Lurker
Another long one, this is almost ten minutes. It starts with a rather jazz-like movement over which the vocals are eventually laid. There are moments later that make me think of early Pink Floyd. They include a bouncy, almost reggae-oriented bridge later. Around the five and a half minute mark it drops to a strange keyboard section and then seems ready to burst out into Yesish wonderment. They take it to a jam from there that does have some Yes in the mix, but also seems a bit closer to Starcastle. From there we’re taken through a few changes. It continues with some soaring instrumental work. This segment eventually takes us out.
 
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