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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Social Hero

The Famous

Review by Gary Hill

Featuring Ian Lloyd, Social Hero might not be purely progressive rock – in fact, they aren’t. They have a lot of modern hard rock and a lot of classic hard rock built into their musical mix. But, since Lloyd’s latest album was put under progressive rock – making him a prog rock artist – and since there is quite a bit of prog here, I’ve included this under that heading. Whatever you call it, though, this is some killer music that will be at once new and exciting and still somehow familiar. You can’t beat that.
Track by Track Review
Evening Gown

The guitar sound that leads this off is crunchy and almost punk like. As they pound out, though, I hear it as closer to Led Zeppelin. The vocals bring in another sound entirely and the chorus has a rather psychedelic feeling (somehow I hear a little “Pictures of Matchstick Men” there). The instrumental break definitely has more of that Led Zep vibe, but there’s more of a progressive rock element to it. There’s a great proggy jam later in the piece, too.

Better Day
This comes in with a melodic building that’s very much in a motif like 1980’s Yes. It rises up from there and is more purely prog than the opener, but there are still plenty of plain rock elements, too. The vocal on the verses has a more modern rock sound and the guitar brings in some elements of that, too. There’s a little bit of a Jane’s Addiction vibe later, but this is really quite progressive rock oriented.
Gone
Here we get a rocker that’s the most progressive rock oriented thing we’ve heard so far. It reminds me in a lot of ways of something you might expect from Chris Squire. It’s a cool tune.
On My Own
Less proggy than anything to this point, this one has a powerpop meets modern rock sound. I hear Jane’s Addiction and Cheap Trick in the mix. Still, the instrumental movement later is more purely progressive rock oriented and it rocks. 
Recognized
Much of this track is similar to the previous one. Yet there are a couple segments that are more prog oriented, one of them sounding quite a bit like Rabin era Yes.
The Return: Psycho Carnivale
This is just a short bit of weirdness. It’s carnival music processed and distorted. 
Mosquito Attack
A big chunk of this is seriously hard rock with a modern meets classic tinge. Still, there is one prog-like movement and we get some killer guitar soloing on the piece. 
Runaway
While the opening section is very much like Godsmack, they drop it way down for a melodic verse that is more progressive rock like. Still, the chorus, based on the same sound as the intro, is heavier and calls to mind Godsmack. In some ways the contrasts on this piece are more evident than on some of the others. 
Radioactive Man
There’s not a lot of progressive rock on this, but there are some hints of it. That said, we get plenty of classic rock built into this catchy and meaty number. 
Keep Telling Yourself
Here is the most purely progressive rock oriented cut on the disc. It’s got a number of interesting twists and turns and has a lot of balladic music in its midst. You’ll hear bits of 1980’s Yes and even some Genesis, I’d say. But you will probably also make out some psychedelia and some more rocking motifs, too. There is a guitar solo based instrumental section that’s less prog and more pure classic rock (it makes me think of Cream). We also get a backwards tracked segment at the end. At close to eight minutes in length, this is the biggest piece on show, too.
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