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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Glen Drover

Metalusion

Review by Gary Hill

Glen Drover is perhaps best known for his work with Megadeth and King Diamond along with his band Eidolon. With those kinds of references, one might expect this album to be heavy metal. Well, the title here is very appropriate because it is really a combination of heavy metal and fusion, leaning far more heavily on the fusion side, though. This is in the same kind of musical genre as Al Di Meola. In fact, there are a couple Di Meola covers presented here, along with two from Jean Luc-Ponty and two from Frank Zappa. Originals round out the set. This is a great album that’s sure to please fans of fusion and progressive rock fans who like guitar oriented, jazz-leaning instrumental prog. It’s diverse and powerful.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ground Zero

Chris Poland and Vinnie Moore guest here. As this starts off it really feels like something from Al Di Meola. It builds out from there into a more metallic jam, but it’s still got a lot of that fusion texture built into it. It’s basically like Di Meola -like fusion with a crunchier sound. Around the four and a half minute mark it drops to a piano solo and then it builds back up from there. It becomes more of a mainstream prog tune, although there are still fusion and metal elements built in, going forward.

Frozen Dream
There’s more of a pure progressive rock element here right from the onset, but fusion still plays a big part. This really grows out into something not that far removed from other modern prog rock. It’s got a lot of energy and plenty of shifts and turns and works out to some rather dissonant jazz at times. This is a killer tune that’s packed with changes and alterations and really works well. Around the three minute mark it works out to a more melodic movement and it calls to mind bands like Yes a bit. Before a minute goes by, though, it turns more metallic, showing the real versatility of this outfit. Steve Smyth is a guest performer on this piece.
Egyptian Danza
This is a cover of an Al Di Meola tune. As the title suggests, this piece includes some Eastern tinges of sound. It opens mellow and shifts to more metallic fusion from there. It moves out to more melodic fusion a little before the two minute mark, losing much of the metal crunch. It intensifies up from there with metallic sounds merged with the more melodic as they gradually increase the speed into some kind of whirling dervish. The cut keeps shifting and rearranging with different elements taking control as it continues its journey through Eastern modes. A little before the five and a half minute mark, it drops to more atmospheric Eastern tones to end.
Colors Of Infinity
This comes in more melodic and more like pure fusion. Again, Di Meola is a good reference. Although this does take on some crunch, it’s really far more in the realm of melodic fusion than it is metallic sounds. Around the two-and-a-half minute mark it powers up into some seriously cool fusion that’s again very much in keeping with Al Di Meola. There’s some tasty keyboard work on that section. They run it through a number of changes but maintain the melodic classic rock meets fusion sounds throughout.
Illusions Of Starlight
Balladic guitar stylings open this in a fusion meets prog style and the cut grows upwards from there, perhaps a bit like Pat Metheny. Then around the forty five second mark it takes on some crunch a bit like modern rock and some Rush. Then around the minute and a half mark it gets more metallic with Rush and Dream Theater perhaps dominating the influences. It grows out from there in fine fashion as they continue. This features some awesome changes and a lot of variations. It’s one of the most dynamic cuts of the set. The Dream Theater elements really come to the fore towards the end.
Don't Let The World Pass You By
Featuring a guest performance by Fredrik Akesson, this starts in pretty and rather sedate ways. It’s a cover of a Jean Luc-Ponty track. It builds up from there, both in intensity and crunch. Then around the two minute mark it shifts to a new, faster paced fusion section that really soars, but manages to retain a melodic element. This gets quite intense as they continue. The soloing really becomes powerful as this grows.
Mirage
Another cover of a song by Jean Luc-Ponty, this is a real killer. They turn in an amazing and inspired rendition. It rocks and still manages to hold the melodic element in place. It’s crunchier than the original song, but not enough to wander near metal. Jeff Loomis guests on this number.
Ascension
The final original composition of the set, keyboards create a lot of the melody here and this is a powerfully unique and intriguing piece. The guitar solos over the top and the piece really has a bit of a dark drama to it. Around the two-minute-forty-five second mark it turns heavier and more metallic, but there are enough proggy leanings here to keep it more pure fusion than real metal. This is actually quite a powerful piece that’s very classical in nature and has a classic rock feeling at the same time.
The Purple Lagoon
This hard rocker is a metallic jam that’s a cover of a Frank Zappa-penned piece. It’s less than a minute in length and serves as the introduction for the next one. It’s among the most metallic numbers on show here.
Filthy Habits
Another Zappa cover, this one powers out from the previous piece, taking those musical themes in different directions. It’s dark and metallic, but also tasty fusion. Around the minute and a half mark it moves towards more melodic sounds but still remains both crunchy and powerful. As this builds upwards from there it gets extremely intense.
 
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