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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Simeon Soul Charger

Meet Me in the Afterlife

Review by Gary Hill

The concept of progressive rock is an intriguing one. Truly to be really progressive music can’t be stuck in the sounds of any one period of time. It needs to keep growing and maturing and developing. It is in that definition of progressive rock that this fits. The music is often crunchy, but yet it can also be acoustic and folk like at times. This is an ever changing soundscape that’s very creating and very cool. I like it a lot. Sure, there are those who won’t consider this progressive rock, but it certainly is from my point of view. It is also seriously intriguing music.

Track by Track Review
Vedanta (The Nothing)

Starting with just vocals, this is a hard rocking number that’s got almost an off-kilter surf feeling to the rhythm section, but the main song is more like power pop ala Cheap Trick with some more modern alternative rock built into it. It’s a killer tune that’s both surprising and catchy. It works out later into a psychedelically tinged jam that’s quite proggy in nature.

God Lends A Hand
There’s a bouncy world music sound to this piece. It combines that with some of the elements we heard in the opener. Overall this is a unique piece of music that has a real klesmer-like element to it. They take it on some intriguing little changes and avenues of musical adventure as the track continues. This is noisy and weird, in an a fun way.
Through The Trees They Talk
We get some King Crimson combining with all kinds odd textures here. This is noisy and a bit weird, but yet it’s also very tasty. World music collides with hard rock and Hawkwind-like space. This is one of the most dynamic pieces on show. It’s quite entertaining and deceptively catchy. The vocal arrangement at times calls to mind Pentwater. This really gets quite heavy and quite dramatic at points. There is also some crazed Rush-like hard rock at times on this number. It’s amazing how much they pack into this number. It feels like it should be fifteen minutes long with as much variety is included, yet it’s less than five minutes in length.
Tooth
Percussion and flute open this and hold this instrumental for the duration.
And He Skinned Them Both
There’s a crunchy psychedelic riff driving this. The vocals are definitely along the lines of something from Pentwater. This is less dynamic than some of the other music early on, but also very cool. It gets very powerful and dramatic as it continues. Then it drops way down to a mellow movement and builds back up gradually from there in a more melodic and classic rock oriented way. This is of fairly epic proportions and moves through a number of changes and alterations, powering through some killer musical territory. At times it makes me think of the harder rocking end of Djam Karet’s catalog.
Please

Based on a country meets folk arrangement, this builds up well beyond the limitations that description might convey. It’s a cool tune that’s mellower than the other stuff to this point. It has a real funeral dirge kind of pace.

Europa's Garden
Frantically crazed jamming with some serious crunch drives this one and serves as sharp contrast to the mellower sounds that preceded it. This is like a more metallic version of modern King Crimson. It’s a fairly heavy duty number.
Europa's Garden Reprise
This is fairly short and the vocal arrangement really dominates it, although the musical concepts are based on the sounds of the previous number, but the title should have given that away.
Into The Afterlife
Combining the sounds of “Please” with some elements that make one think of early Hawkwind, this is a tasty piece that also calls to mind Camper Van Beethoven at times. It wanders out to more pure progressive rock with hints of Captain Beyond later. It works later by moving to a more powered up version of the opening sounds. The vocal arrangement on this is quite intriguing. Then it modulates out to something closer to modern King Crimson before taking a twist into pure heavy metal. Bass guitar picks up as the metal leaves and then they march out into a frantic, metallic fusion type sound from that point.
Song of The Sphinx
That Camper Van Beethoven world music vibe is all over this piece. It’s mellower, melodic and a lot of fun.
Child's Prayer
This literally is based on a child’s prayer. It’s mellow, intricate and delicate. It’s also short and quite pretty.
Dear Mother
Coming straight out of the previous piece, this is very much a folk number. It’s powerful and tasty, but still remains purely acoustic.
Swallowing Mouth
This doesn’t rock as hard as some of the other music, but it is somewhat crunchy. It has some swirling, crazed world music built into it. It’s twisted and rather psychotic and strange. It’s also quite intriguing. I’m not sure I’d have chosen this piece to close the set, but it’s cool, nonetheless. In a lot of ways it reminds me of something Danny Elfman might write. I’d also say that parts of this call to mind the more theatrical side of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
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