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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soniq Theater

This Mortal Coil

Review by Gary Hill

While the overall Soniq Theater concept is in place here, variants like some Celtic music are heard. Larry Fast is sometimes a valid reference, but so is Rick Wakeman. All in all, it’s another solid release from an act that just seems to be very consistent in terms of quality.

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
This Mortal Coil

There’s a short bit of weirdness before we’re taken into a staccato jam that’s full of drama. This is classy progressive rock. It works through a number of changes as it continues. There is some especially tasty keyboard soloing built into this thing. It does have sections that are closer to fusion. There is quite a bit of energy here and the track works pretty well.

Break the Frame

With vocals throughout, this is more mainstream. It’s got a definite Rick Wakeman type feeling to it. There is a real rocking element, as well.

Minas Tirith

At times there are some Celtic elements at play here. Beyond that, it’s pretty much classic progressive rock instrumental music.

Flashpoint

With a definite Larry Fast vibe, this is fast paced fusion that’s quite cool. There are some soaring non-lyrical female vocals at points in the piece.

Pacific Coast Highway

This cut is based on a melodic and powerful progressive rock. There’s a lot of energy here, and the cut works really well.

Menuetto

There’s a classical element to the general musical progression, but this is very much electronic based progressive rock.

Bridge to Eternity

At just over nine-minutes in length, this qualifies as epic in scale. It has some of the hardest rocking music of the set. Yet, it’s still dramatic and tasty. It works through a number of alterations. At times it drops way down. At other points it works in some exceptionally dramatic directions. At times I’m reminded of Tangerine Dream on this piece. Other points call to mind other acts. Rick Wakeman is a frequently referenced influence.

Screenplay

There’s almost a Caribbean sort of sound as this opens. Dramatic progressive rock stylings join as it continues. World music certainly plays on this in a lot of ways. It drops back to some extremely mellow tones at points. I’m reminded of Pat Metheny at times. In some respects this has some of the prettiest and most melodic sound of the set.

Mariana Rift

Stretching to almost ten and a half minutes in length, this is the epic of the set. Spacey keyboards with sound-looped voices over the top open this, feeling almost like Hawkwind. Then it shifts to a Native American type segment. From there it works to something more like an energized new age music as it builds. Metheny seems a viable reference at times on this number. It drops later to a percussive movement that calls to mind Genesis’ Duke album, but it gets more fusion built over the top from that point. After it works through several variants and alterations, it drops back to a mellower movement that again has some hints of Native American music. Various sections leave and return as this thing keeps evolving.

 
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