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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

X Opus

The Epiphany

Review by Gary Hill

Much modern progressive rock music borders heavy metal. Sometimes the balance falls on the metal side. Other times it’s on the prog side. This one is more prog than metal, but not by much. That said, it’s also a great disc with a real symphonic feeling to a lot of the music, even the more metallic tunes. It’s a powerful and rather theatric release. If you like metallic prog or even prog metal, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Terrified

Starting with mellow atmosphere, this stomps out into a real screaming prog metal number. It’s a great piece of music and a great way to start things in style.

On Top Of The World
While the overall musical motif isn’t dramatically altered from the opener, this has its own musical identity. It’s another killer tune that combines progressive rock with metal and lands just to the prog side of the equation. There are some extreme metal vocals at points, though.
Pharaohs Of Lies
Starting with chorale vocals, this rises up in dramatic atmospheric ways. Symphonic, movie soundtrack like sounds take it. Then some technical melodic, yet crunchy, guitar rises up to drive it. After a time it powers out to something closer to the first two pieces. This is dramatic, powerful and symphonic in nature. They turn this out into some music that’s a lot like Dream Theater. This is one of the most dynamic cuts on show here. It’s also one of the strongest. It makes great use of the contrast of mellower and harder rocking music and has some stellar instrumental work.
I'll Find The Truth
This one pounds in very metallic, but then turns out more fully toward crunchy prog. It’s another with quite a bit of variety and it really works very well.
In The Heavens
Mellow acoustic guitar motifs lead out on this number. They hold it for a short time, but then a pounding crunch enters as melodic guitar solos over the top. This is both melodic and extremely heavy.
The Epiphany (Opus Benedictus Interlude)
This is a full symphonic instrumental treatment.
I Will Fly
Starting with the symphonic type stylings, this powers out into a major technical metal meets prog jam. Then we get an Eastern tinged section that reminds me a lot of early Rainbow. This is a killer tune that’s one of my favorites on the set. I’d consider this to be a real blend of metal, Dream Theater like sounds and that old Rainbow element – with each part ruling at times. It works to some symphonic music and a piano and vocal ballad section later.
Forsaken (Requiem Of The Forsaken)
Here’s the epic of the disc, weighing in at over ten and a half minutes in length. It’s a real powerhouse, but also an exercise in contrast working between symphonic sounds, progressive rock and metal. It’s got a lot of drama and change built in. It’s interesting because some parts are definitely more metal, while other sections work more in a progressive rock direction. It’s all compelling, though. Around the seven and a half minute mark it works out to an operatic section with symphonic instrumentation and powerful non-lyrical vocals.
Angels Of War
Here’s a cut that falls well into the progressive end of the prog metal sounds. It’s another effective number. Yes, it’s crunchy, but there’s a lot of classical elements built in and, heavy as it is, there’s a certain progressive rock sensibility to the riffing. It’s actually amazingly dynamic considering it’s less than five minutes in length.
Never Forgotten
Anyone still unconvinced about this band being included in progressive rock should tune into this number. It’s a killer piece that’s got lots of keyboards and a distinctive progressive rock texture. Sure, there’s some crunchy guitar, too, but overall this one is all prog. There are symphonic sections and a cool acoustic guitar driven movement that’s a cross between jazz and classical music. There is some scorching hot guitar soloing that’s got both fusion and classic rock sounds in it.
 
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