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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tin Scribble

Unlive from a Dead City

Review by Gary Hill

The hard-edged modern progressive rock that makes up the music here shares some territory with Tool, but is more proggy and often quite melodic. It is certainly dark, though. The vocals come in somewhere between Jello Biafra and operatic – and they are the one aspect of the disc that’s a bit hard to take. Still, they lend a very unique sound to the set and do grow on you with repeated listenings.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Scizophonia

A mellow introductory section, this is dark, but also atmospheric and pretty.

Abandon
There’s a definite Rush (think 1970s) sound to this, but also more modern progressive rock elements. The main riff that drives this has “Rush” written all over it. Some of the keyboard layers later are exceptional. The vocals take a little getting used to, but kind of lend a unique air to the work.
Corinnia
Here we get a pretty and intricate acoustic guitar solo that’s quite beautiful.
Without
Hard edged and tasty, this one is almost heavy metal in a lot of ways. Those vocals, again, take some getting used to, but create an intriguing sound that’s not like any other band. It drops to melodic progressive rock after the two minute mark, becoming more acoustic based. Further down the road we get harder rocking prog again.
Voxpopuli Vox Dei
The vocals here really stretch the lines of acceptability. Consider them to be the most “Jello Biafra meets opera” oriented to this point. Musically, though, this is a strong cut that works between harder rocking material and more melodic guitar oriented progressive rock. There’s a killer guitar solo on the tune.
Wake (Acoustic)
There is a real old world musical element to this. It’s dramatic and powerful and (as one might guess) ballad-like. It’s a powerful cut and gets more rocking at points.
Seperate Silence
Acoustic guitar brings this in and it powers out from there in a rather metallic motif. There is some killer guitar soloing on this tune.
Invisible Sun
This is a cover of a Police song. It’s got an almost symphonic meets hard rock sound. This doesn’t feel like the Police at all. It’s got a smoking hot metallic texture and the chorus resembles Gary Numan and Tubeway Army a bit.
Breakable
Alternating between more melodic and more metallic territory, this one is dark and rather bleak. It’s also got some cool Eastern tones on it at times. At times this reminds me quite a bit of Tool. There are some cool layers of melodic guitar soloing later in the piece.
Guitaristic at Ease
This is another guitar solo and it’s good.
Bleak
Hard-edged, this is rather like Tool meets modern progressive rock.
For a While
More melodic and featuring some ambient sections, this is another cool tune that’s in keeping with the music heard on the rest of the set. There’s a cool steadily climbing jam later in the piece that seems to have both Yes and Rush tendencies in it.
Throwing Glances
Part melodic, part nearly fierce metal, this is another cool cut, but it seems cut out of very similar fabric as everything else here comes from.
Wake
There was an acoustic version of this cut earlier in the set. Now we get the full treatment. It’s melodic, dynamic and quite tasty.
 
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