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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Han Uil

Dark in Light

Review by Gary Hill

Han Uil has been the lead singer of Seven Day Hunt and Antares, both progressive rock bands. Dark in Light is a solo album and it certainly continues the prog tradition. Only rarely do certain specific artists come to mind on this set, but the music will seem familiar as it’s well rooted in progressive rock traditions, both classic and modern. It’s an album that holds together well and doesn’t have any real stars in terms of songs. Each piece stands alongside the rest and they all work well to complement one another. It’s a strong disc that should appeal to modern prog fans without really alienating those whose tastes run more to the traditional progressive rock stylings.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
War of Thoughts

This introductory instrumental piece starts rather symphonic. Some of the guitar soloing that comes over the top calls to mind David Gilmour’s work in Pink Floyd. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to imagine this as Pink Floyd, but it is more symphonic than that comparison would indicate.

Aquila Island
As this comes in there’s a more traditional progressive rock sound, but it works out to something a bit crunchier, and more in keeping with a somewhat dark neo-prog sound. It’s a killer tune that’s catchy and quite prog at the same time.
The Same Old Endless Story
This track is a lot more old school progressive rock. There are some crunchy elements on display, too, but the arrangement tends more towards the purely melodic. The song construction is quite complex, and while it doesn’t really sound like any particular bands, there are hints of a number of acts at various moments. Once again, some of the guitar work calls to mind Pink Floyd. The vocal arrangement is more involved than on the previous pieces and the bass line is quite cool.
A Song For the Soldier
Coming in much mellower, this has a definite jazz feeling. Part of that comes from the saxophone, but there are other jazz elements here, too. There’s a powerful vocal duet between male and female vocals on this piece. This remains mellower than the tracks that preceded it, but it has an emotional energy that wasn’t attained earlier on this set. The guitar soloing at times calls to mind Gilmour again.
I've Waited Too Long
As this comes in it feels like a proggier version of Steely Dan. It powers out into something more like modern crunchy prog as they continue. There are some killer instrumental movements and switches up here and there as they continue.
Dark In Light
There’s a melodic but (appropriately) dark tone to this cut. It’s mellower than some of the other music here, but far from balladic. It’s got both a modern progressive rock sound and hints of old school prog on show. This is quite an interesting piece of music. The guitar solo is a real screamer. The cut builds up into a more rocking motif as it continues and I can make out hints of Hawkwind at times on this piece.
Memento
We get a lot more crunch here, but in many ways this feels a lot like Hawkwind. It’s hard edged and yet mysterious. It’s another killer modern progressive rock cut on a disc that’s full of them. As it shifts out to the instrumental segment later it resembles Pentwater.
I Love You Still
There’s a dark and mysterious element to this. In some ways it feels like something like Porcupine Tree. There are some seriously screaming guitar parts on the top of this piece at times. A spoken section is a nice touch.
Getting Up
Combine sort of a 1980s sound with a King Crimson vibe and you’ve got an idea of what this piece is like. In fact, in a lot of ways it’s quite similar to modern King Crimson.
The Great Descent
There’s a killer Arabic element on display here, and this is another piece that has a lot in common with Hawkwind. It works out in some different directions from there, though. It’s a killer tune with a lot of intriguing elements on display.
Love Can Be Found
The keyboards take a more prominent role in this instrumental. It’s a real powerhouse that works through a number of cool changes and alterations. It’s quite a cool way to end the set in style.
 
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