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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zevious

After the Air Raid

Review by Gary Hill

This is a good album, but it stops short of great. The main shortcoming here is the lack of variety. There are a few tracks that offer different soundscapes, but they are too few and lumped all together. That makes for a set that feels a bit like one long repetitious song. Some vocals here or there would have helped. So would have rearranging some of the pieces to emphasis what variety there is. All in all, though, if you like guitar based fusion instrumental music, this might be up your alley. All the tracks taken by themselves are quite good. It’s just that when you attempt to listen to the CD as a whole it feels repetitive.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Where's The Captain?

Starting very much in a fusion fashion, this just feels like we’re dropped into the middle of it. As the cut carries on, it continues that fusion sound, but a sound not dissimilar from Red era King Crimson is melded into the mix. There’s some seriously crazed jamming on this, but it never turns to dissonance or RIO-like weirdness.

Coma Cluster
While this jam is not entirely different in terms of musical territory, than the opener, it definitely is far from a repeat of that cut. This works in a more stripped down and open motif and does move closer to RIO-territory.
Mostly Skulls
Another that is in the same basic musical territory, this does have more of a pure Crimson-like element (with some Djam Karet in the mix). It’s got some serious guitar work and the percussion seems especially prominent, too. 
That Ticket Exploded
The King Crimson elements aren’t completely gone, but they are certainly less prominent here. Instead this track focuses more of a pure fusion approach. That said, we do get more Crimsonian elements later in the piece, still not to the degree of the tunes that preceded it. Comparisons to Djam Karet, though, are appropriate here, as well. You might even make out a little early Black Sabbath at points. 
The Noose
Combining the Crimsonian elements with freeform jamming and some serious fusion, this is cool, but it’s all starting to seem a little too similar. 
Inciting
More rocking, this is again in a very Crimson-like motif. It’s a bit more metal than some of the other material, bringing in a bit of variety. It even works into a space rock sort of motif for a while.  
Gradual Decay
This less crazed and more melodic than a lot of the music here. While it’s still related to the other stuff, I can hear it as not that different from something from Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. 
The Ditch
There’s a pounding fusion meets King Crimson and Djam Karet sound to this piece. It’s good, but suffers a bit from the samey quality of a lot of the music here. 
After The Air Raid
This is quite a change. It’s very mellow and I suppose you could call it “a ballad,” although it’s probably closer to a tone poem. It does have some dissonance, but yet it’s somehow pretty. This is dark, but intriguing.
The Children And The Rats
This one alternates between a mellower section that’s not that different from the previous track (I’m guessing this is “The Children” of the title) and a harder rocking, noisy one that’s closer to the rest of the disc (again, I’d bet that’s “The Rats”). All in all, this is one of the cooler cuts on show and really benefits from the added dynamic range. It reminds me a lot of Djam Karet. It turns to some seriously cacophonous music later in the track. 
Glass Tables
They close the disc with a cut that’s not that different from the bulk of the material here. Sure, it does have its own identity, but really it’s a bit too similar to really work all that well. The end result is a definite samey quality.
 
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