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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Chase

Imbue

Review by Greg Olma

Chase is band hailing from the Chicago-land area that consists of Chase Carter (guitar, vocal), Fred Matthews (drums), and Vince Buonassi (bass – from the band Vonassi).  Since prog or progressive music is back in style, many bands are jumping on the bandwagon to get a “piece of the pie” so to speak.  It is easy to spot the true prog musicians because they tend to write music that may be complicated to play and may push the envelope of music but there is always an underlying song in there.  Chase is one of those bands that while not all-out prog, still manages to bring in enough of those elements into their music but always keeping in mind that there are many types of listeners out there and not all of them are musicians.  I can appreciate good playing, but no matter how the good the artist is, if the songs aren’t there, I’m not going to listen to it.  Imbue only consists of five songs, but while each one is unique; they all seem to fit as part of this musical puzzle.  There are snippets of Yes and Dream Theater in there but I also hear some 90s rock along with a hint of The Beatles.  I think the biggest reason Imbue works as well as it does is due to Chase Carter’s vocal performance.  He has a warm tone to his voice like a Paul Rogers or Phil Mogg and that is unique in the world of prog.  Most artists tend to be more of the operatic style like a James LaBrie but Carter delivers a more natural vocal performance that gives this a different sound.

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
Redefine

This is a straight up prog metal tune.  As a point of reference, it has similarities to Dream Theater Train Of Thought era.  It is heavy but has some nice prog moments during the verses.

I Hate You

Even though this cut has some prog elements, it has a healthy dose of 90s rock.  It is not grunge but just good old fashioned rock.  I also hear a little bit of The Beatles in there.  Chase Carter’s vocals are very expressive on this one, and that is one of the reasons this whole CD works.

Beautiful

This tune is similar in some ways to “I Hate You” but still manages to sound unique.  Carter really shows off his guitar playing abilities with a great solo that fits the song perfectly.

Simple
Even though it starts off pretty heavy, it switches gears and becomes more of a mellower tune.  When I say “mellow,” I don’t mean soft because it still has a heaviness throughout.  The chorus is really catchy, and I dare you to listen to this song and not have that chorus running through your head all day (in a good way).
Eat & Drink (reprise)
Chase close this EP with another stand out prog rocker.  Clocking in at a little under five and a half minutes, this is longest track on Imbue but it is also has so many “parts” that it never gets boring or over-stays its welcome.  There is a middle section that reminds me of 70s Yes. 
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