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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Delain

Lucidity

Review by Gary Hill

A lot of times I’m not blown away by all the bonus tracks on discs. Many times I think that less is more. That’s not the case here. Every track (even though the bonus tracks are just alternate takes) works very well. In fact, had the bonus tracks not been here, I’d consider this a proggy metal album. Those extras make this a metallic prog album. I like the disc a lot. The whole concept of female fronted symphonic epic metal band has been so overdone. The thing is, this group does it so well, that it really doesn’t matter. They are true masters of the genre and that pays off in giving them plenty of mileage in a mode that can lean towards being worn out. I’d highly recommend this disc to fans of that style of metal. I’d also recommend it to anyone who enjoys progressive rock with healthy helpings of metal. It’s a great synthesis of hard rocking music with pure symphonic.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Sever

As this rises up, rock elements combine with symphonic in a musical motif that is both progressive rock and powerful. The cut grows like that and then drops down for some balladic sounds for the first vocals. We get more metallic music later, but it’s merged with the rocking moments from the introduction. This is a killer track that’s basically metallic progressive rock. The symphonic elements bring so much to the table and the vocal arrangement is interesting. There’s a section later in this track where the melody somehow reminds me of James Bond music. Of course, that’s while there’s a metallic stomper raging as the backdrop. We get a killer guitar solo section after that.

Frozen
This cut comes in with a powerhouse progressive rock sound, but shifts out to more pure metal as it continues. In a lot of ways it’s not that different from some of the music from Lana Lane.
Silhouette Of A Dancer
The melodic female vocals on this piece are counterbalanced by male death metal styled vocals. The music is similarly balanced between symphonic progressive rock and pure metallic sounds. The overall model hasn’t been greatly changed, but this is compelling. The instrumental section is pure progressive rock and very tasty. 
No Compliance
This song is more purely metal. That said, there’s still plenty of classical music built into this. The vocals on this are more metal-like, too. It just plain rocks!
See Me In Shadow
Here’s another song that’s more like the few that opened the set. This is catchy and still quite meaty in terms of arrangement. It’s a powerhouse piece of music. They take it out into some seriously progressive rock-like territory at times. This is female fronted epic metal at its best. 
Shattered
They haven’t changed the musical road map a lot, but this is powerful symphonic epic metal. I’d say that somehow this track works better than the one that preceded it. While things haven’t been greatly altered, there’s no hint of it getting monotonous. 
The Gathering
Male vocals start this in an acapella fashion and the female vocals serve to accentuate. After a short time like this they power it out to a real rocker. This turns into some seriously heavy metal, but the return of the opening vocal brings in a more straight rock sound. 
Daylight Lucidity
This is closer to the music that made up the first couple tracks. It’s more symphonic than the last number. We get some male vocals later in this piece. 
Sleepwalkers Dream
Here is a number that’s more purely symphonic. It’s another powerhouse tune. They show no sign of letting up. The middle section of the piece is particularly symphonic. 
A Day For Ghosts
Starting very progressive rock like, this takes on a crunch, but I’d file it closer to metallic prog, at least at first. It gets a little meaner as the riff driven metallic sounds join. The vocals, at points, remind me of The B-52’s on this extended introduction. They take it out into a song proper that’s closer to the bulk of the disc. There are some serious metal male vocals (not death metal, though – old school). This is another killer piece of music. Most of it is extremely fast paced and energetic, but they drop it back for a symphonic interlude that’s quite dramatic and theatrical. 
Pristine
On the one hand, this cut has some of the most purely metal music on show – and some serious death growls. Despite that, it’s also got some of the most extreme symphonic music and some moments that I’d consider pure progressive rock. It’s a great study in contrasts. The closing section of this (which closes the album proper) is one of the most potent parts of the whole album. 
(Deep) Frozen
The first bonus track is essentially a reworking of the opening number.
Frozen (Acoustic)
Here we get an acoustic based rendition of the opening track of the set. This brings a different sound to the cut. It’s cool, and an interesting change of pace. I definitely prefer the original version, but this is nice. 
Silhouette Of A Dancer (Acoustic)
Here we get another song rendered in acoustic format. I think I like this one better than the last one. It’s quite powerful and pretty.
See Me In Shadow (Acoustic)
Yet another acoustic based alternate take, this is piano and vocal. It’s quite pretty and intricate. I might even like this one better than the version that made the real disc. 
No Compliance (Charlotte Vocals)
As the title suggests, we get a version of this track with different vocals. Beyond that, it’s not that different.
 
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