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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soniq Theater

The Third Eye

Review by Gary Hill

The third disc from Soniq Theater, this one seems more guitar oriented than a lot of the catalog. At times it almost feels close to Deep Purple. Still, there are always threads holding the discs of Soniq Theater together in some sort of unification.

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
The Anger of Zeus

Weird space sounds open this. From there it powers out into some hard edged progressive rock. As this continues there is a real classic progressive rock vibe to it. There’s almost a Deep Purple goes prog texture to it in some ways.

Bilbo is Back

While there are some shifts and changes here, this is a more straightforward, rather mainstream cut. It’s a fairly short one.

Vamos a Ver

Some smoking guitar opens this before it launches out into a smoking hot hard rock meets progressive rock movement. There are some non-lyrical female vocals on this number. That voice brings a bit of a soulful texture to the piece, but overall it’s more fusion meets progressive rock. There is quite a tasty piano solo later in the piece, too.

Skydiver

Coming in with more tasty progressive rock, this really takes on some definite jazz as it continues. The rhythm section is downright funky and this is a cool tune. There is some killer keyboard soloing built into this thing. We also get some space rock elements at times here.

Once upon a Time

There’s a delicate, classical nature to this short piece. It does get rather involved, but really it’s fairly restrained.

The Coronation

This tune powers in with all the pomp one might expect. It’s quite a dramatic and dynamic piece. At times I’m reminded of mid-era Genesis. Still, there is a Rick Wakeman like flair to it in a lot of ways.

Inner Visions

Spacey musical elements open this track. It moves out to more energized progressive rock, but there is still a space rock element in place. There are some synthesized vocals that add to that space rock reference. There are a number of changes and I particularly enjoy the harder rocking movement that comes in later. Still, the mellower drop back that serves as an interlude in the middle of that is intricate and rather Wakeman-like (and also tasty).

Meta Luna

I’m guessing the title of this track refers to the home planet of the aliens in the classic science fiction film “This Island Earth.” If so, it earns some definite brownie points with me. While that film does seem dated by today’s standards, it manages to hold up reasonably well and is one of my all time favorites. It starts off suitably spacey and then builds out to one of the most powerful progressive rock jams of the whole set. I love everything about this piece. It drops down here and there and rises back up again. This is one of the best tracks ever recorded by Soniq Theater and without question the highlight of this set.

Sleeping Beauty

The opening section here calls to mind the more electronic side of Hawkwind. Indeed, as it rises up a little bit I’m reminded of “Void City.” It doesn’t stay there long, though, moving through a series of shifts and changes. At times there is some more world music oriented sound here, but then other points are more like fusion. The one problem about this is that it includes some vocals and at times they go very far off key, to the point of being abrasive. Still, there is also a bit of a UK (first album) vibe at points here to lend some class to it.

Desperado

Fusion meets progressive rock in a nice blend here. At times this is mellower and at other points it purely screams. It’s another highlight of the set. We’re taken through several changes and alterations as this thrill ride winds through.

Lumania

The longest track on the set, this comes in with some definite classical sounds. It really starts delicate and intricate and works out from there. It becomes bombastic progressive rock with a symphonic leaning. It’s quite a diverse and dynamic piece, working through quite a few changes and varied sections. There is a rather classical element to even the construction of the piece. Yet there is also plenty of progressive rock and fusion built into this beast, too. I particularly enjoy the classically oriented piano solo that comes late in the track and takes it out.

Peace Piece

This short cut gets bonus points for the clever title. There’s a bit of a playful air to it, and it’s another song that at times calls to mind Rick Wakeman. Yet there is a cool bouncy groove here. While this is certainly not a highlight of the set, it’s lighthearted and accessible nature makes it a great counterpoint to the epic type piece that preceded it. That, therefore, makes it a strong closer.

 
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