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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Troy Donockley

Messages: A collection of music 1998-2001

Review by Gary Hill

Well, with a compilation like this, one might not anticipate a lot of consistency and cohesiveness. Somehow, this collection manages to feel pretty organic in flow. Donockley is generally considered a Celtic prog artist, so a lot of this falls in that general direction. Still, it also has some definite symphonic textures. It’s quite an entertaining set.

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
Sights

This tune is very pretty and it has a lot of energy. It flows very well. There is a definite world elements and some symphonic texture.

For Him Who Will Never Return

Starting with Uillean Pipes, this is quite world oriented and pretty. As it grows out from there, the changes are gradual and that same basic element remains constant. This is a beautiful and quite organic piece of music.

Now Voyager

A female voice opens this and continues sans instrumentation for over thirty second. Then the instruments join in atmospheric, symphonic textures. Around the minute and a half mark those vocals drop away and the song gets a symphonic, progressive rock styled treatment as various spoken voices come over the top. It drops to more purely symphonic after a time, and then comes in with a more rock oriented motif. Still, that rock style isn’t like a rock and roll or crunchy sound, but rather like symphonic prog merged with Pink Floyd and Celtic music. It grows out into some powerful symphonic music.

Fragment

This is quite a mellow piece. It’s really not rock at all, but rather a chorale piece. The vocals are the real key element here.

Orkkahaugr

Coming in acoustic based, this has a lot of energy and builds out with some classic Celtic elements. It carries in that basic format for a while, but then drops way down for a symphonic sort of movement, more like chamber music. There are bits of crunch that come over the top, lending progressive rock to the arrangement. It works out to melodic Celtic based prog as it continues.

Finlandia

Jean Sibelius is definitely my favorite classical composer, and I don’t think it’s possible to be a fan of Sibelius and not love “Finlandia.” This is Donockley’s arrangement of the middle section of the composition. As one might guess, this piece is quite classical in nature. It’s also powerful and pretty and has some Celtic texture to it.

Dunmail Rising

This bursts in and then modulates out to a symphonic sort of section. The track continues by alternating those two elements in an intriguing arrangement. Later it works out to a delicate and complex symphonic arrangement that’s very pretty. As it builds out from there more rock oriented elements are heard in the rhythm section as the classical sounds weave over the top. This gets very powerful.

Pursuit of Illusion

There are both male and female vocals on this cut. It’s definitely quite classical in nature. It’s also very compelling and pretty.

Tunnels

This is quite an intriguing cut. It works through a number of changes and alterations. At times it’s more like pure (albeit organic) progressive rock. At other points it’s more symphonic in nature. This is an epic with a lot of majesty and mystery, but just as much delicate beauty. There is plenty of Celtic sound here, but a lot of other elements in place, too. I really like this one a lot. In fact, it’s probably the best track here. It’s surely the one with the widest scope. It’s very magical.

The Procession

As the title suggests, this little instrumental is a pretty and quite symphonic number to lead things out in style.

 

 
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