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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tempus Fugit

Chessboard

Review by Gary Hill

Brazilian band Tempus Fugit have released an intriguing disc with Chessboard. It’s certain to please the prog purists because it doesn’t wander into heavy metal territory at all. Instead, this sticks closer to the old school progressive rock sounds, with references to Camel seeming obvious, among others. There are some powerful moments, but overall the disc tends to be rather understated, at times to a fault. Still, this is a strong CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Pontos De Fuga (I. Part One)

This minute plus introductory section is purely keyboards.

Pontos De Fuga (II. Part Two)
Bass brings this in and they launch out into a great fusion jam from there. There are some hot guitar solo section and a lot of great changes along this road. It’s still pretty short and instrumental.
Unfair World
Melodic hard edged progressive rock sounds bring this in with a mid-tempo treatment. As it drops back for the vocal segment, Pink Floyd is certainly a fair comparison. They continue by including a more energized section as the counterpoint to that melodic movement. There are quite a few different sections. There are parts that are more like fusion later.
Only To Be With You
There’s a bouncy high energy progressive rock sound to this number. At times I’m reminded of Genesis, but there’s also a lot of jazz to be heard here. The bass line is awesome. It eventually drops down to a mellower section for the vocals. Echoes of Pink Floyd might again be heard here. They take it through a number of changes as this builds out instrumentally after the vocals. There’s a tasty instrumental movement later that has a lot of fusion in mix as both keyboards and guitar get turns as the driving portion. All in all, there are a number of changes, but the overall texture is melodic progressive rock.
The Princess (I. My Princess)
Melodic prog serves as the backdrop for the female vocals that start things out. It grows out after that first verse and the male vocals return. This is really a soaring number. It is essentially melodic and quite pretty, but that doesn’t mean mellow. This works straight into the second part.
The Princess (II. Tears From The Sky)
A powerhouse instrumental continuation of the themes from the previous portion take it along some interesting roads. At times Pink Floyd seems an accurate reference point, but at other times it feels closer to Genesis. Still other sections touch heavily upon fusion.
Chessboard (I. The Game Of Life)
Keyboards bring this in, but it threatens quickly to turn metallic. Instead, though, we get a more melodic progressive rock section with hints of Celtic music in the mix. About three minutes in it drops way down to a mellow jazz meets prog arrangement for the vocals. It builds out into more rocking territory, but remains very melodic as lush layers of sound are built over the backdrop. They drop it back towards the mellower modes, feeling at times a bit like Pink Floyd as they continue. The instrumental section later is pretty and powerful. It turns towards something like a proggier Rainbow later. There’s a crescendo later, after the vocals return, that gives way to a melodic instrumental section that serves to tie the two halves of the piece together.
Chessboard (II. The Living)
Using the melodic music that ended part one as the basis for the vocals, they build it out into crunchier sounds after that vocal segment. At times the reference to Pink Floyd is again accurate here. After a time they take it out to a rather jazzy movement and then a cool acoustic guitar solo is heard over the top as the bass just kills. They take that instrumental section into some seriously extended territory moving through fusion-like territory and something closer to Pink Floyd at times. This thing just keeps re-inventing itself, all the while maintaining a groove. Hints of heavy metal emerge on the smoking hot guitar soloing that comes later, but even then, it’s squarely set in the progressive rock zone in terms of the rest of the instrumentation. This piece by itself is over eight minutes long, but when you add in the duration of the first half, this two parter is a real epic at over 19 minutes in length. It’s also a great way to end things in style.
 
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