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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soniq Theater

Soniq Theater

Review by Gary Hill

Released in 2000, this is the eponymous Soniq Theater disc. Soniq Theater is the name under which Alfred Mueller records. The music here, like the bulk of Mueller’s work, seems to work between progressive rock and fusion territories. This is a strong disc, but that’s what is generally expected from this artist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Rondeo

This comes in with a classically tinged sound that gets some laughter over the top. Then it works out to smoking hot instrumental progressive rock. Emerson Lake and Palmer is a valid reference point, but so is Rick Wakeman. It works through a number of changes and alterations as it continues.

Unicorn
In some ways this doesn’t vary that much from the previous cut. Still, it’s got a definite fusion element to it. Pat Metheny is perhaps worth mentioning here. There is some killer soloing on this number.
Pandora's Box
Here Mueller brings things in with a more energized and hard rocking rhythm section. The cut jams pretty well. It’s perhaps more pure rock, but there’s still enough fusion and prog in play to keep it from feeling too mainstream. There are mellower movements playing counter to the harder rocking ones.
Minka e Rano
This is a big change of pace with vocals (not in English) and world music merged with the types of sound familiar on the rest of the disc.
Excalibur
There are some non-lyrical vocals on this number, but overall it’s closer to the fusion side of the spectrum.
Jurassic Classic
This starts out delicate and intricate, but shifts out to something a bit closer to Yes-like sounds after that. In fact, there are some moments and some changes here that really do call to mind that band.
The Power and the Glory
Starting with a dramatic and majestic keyboard sound, this builds out into more rocking territory from there. Yes is again a fair reference here, particularly The Ladder period. It works through a number of changes and alterations, but still that motif is the prominent one for much of the duration. There are some moments, though, that are perhaps closer to ELP.
Tsunami
This lands more fully in a fusion sound. It alternates between a more soaring movement and a more intricate one. There’s a killer crunchy section that actually brings it quite close to heavy metal. As keyboards weave over the top it sounds closer to something like Dream Theater with a fusion elements still in place.
Palace of Glass
Here we have a much mellower and more intricate number. It’s quite pretty and has a number of nice textures and sounds.
Laughing through my Tears
There’s more energy and oomph to this cut. It’s a real killer number. It’s got a lot of fusion in the mix.
Leftoverture
This is just a short cut that merges classical music and fusion.
Hydra
Dramatic and powerful, this cut has a lot of progressive rock built into it. There is also plenty of fusion to be heard here. The keyboard soloing later in the piece calls to mind some of Wakeman’s 1980s work and sounds.
Crying Sky
More purely fusion oriented, this one seriously rocks. It’s one of the tastiest pieces on show.
The Riders of Rohan
Dramatic and rather cinematic, this one is very cool. It’s different from a lot of the other music and yet still has both the progressive rock and fusion elements in place.
Cinemagic
This bouncy little number is fun and it certainly makes me think of Rick Wakeman. There are some non-lyrical female vocals on this tune.
Dans les Nuages
European café music is merged with progressive rock on this tasty piece.
 
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