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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Super Squid

Surf Party

Review by Gary Hill

In many ways, the only method of evaluating this CD is taking it one song at a time. That’s because there is such a huge difference from one piece to another. Yet, it’s all strong. It’s just very diverse and adventurous music. While it’s likely that not everything here will appeal equally to every listener, those with an interest in creative, experimental music that breaks out of boundaries will really enjoy this. It’s often strange, sometimes abrasive, but always interesting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Super Squid Surf Party

This opens the disc with the sound of the sea. Then a female voice rises up and it takes on a mellow, retro texture. The cut feels a bit like a combination of vintage psychedelic music and Hawaiian sounds. It’s mellow and multilayered on this first section. Then, around the minute and a half mark, it powers out into a hard rocking jam that has a lot of garage band psychedelic sound mixed with punk rock. As it continues there is a shift towards modern progressive rock, but with those other textures still in place.

Submersive War

There’s a noisy, yet fairly atmospheric sound that opens “Submersive War” Then a riff not that far removed from The Dead Kennedys comes in to move it forward. They build on that sound with punk merged with psychedelic and even modern progressive rock. In fact, the cut really has a progressive rock vibe, but with that harder edge to it. It works out to a melodic movement with female vocals reinforcing the prog connection. It goes back to the main song section beyond that. There’s a short classically tinged segment as the cut draws to a close.

Monsters

This piece is more thoroughly progressive rock, but the drop tuned bass guitar brings an almost stoner metal sound to the table. It works through several changes and it’s quite a ways in before there are any vocals. At some points this feels a bit like Marilyn Manson, but there are enough progressive rock sounds here to keep it quite different from that. Still, it’s heavy. There is a cool driving instrumental movement later in the piece.

Moth

This tune comes in tentatively with a short instrumental intro. Then it moves out to some of the most purely melodic music of the whole set. The female vocals are soaring and this is fairly mellow, despite the rocking bass line that works underneath it. It has one of the most dynamic and complex structures of the whole set, and this one clearly fits under the progressive rock banner.

Ghost Witch

Industrial sounds meet punk and modern progressive rock (and even some metal) on “Ghost Witch.” Still, the instrumental section is almost all pure progressive rock. It is another that’s quite complex and it’s also very powerful.

Des Allemands

A high energy, but quite prog-oriented jam opens this piece. It shifts to something that’s almost purely hardcore punk from there, though. Still, they keep changing things in the mix and it lands at different points along the spectrum throughout the ride. They take into a space rock jam later.

Falling of the Czar

This has a rubbery kind of rhythm section and a lot of psychedelic intensity. It’s high energy and one of the most accessible pieces on show. It works through a number of changes as it continues and gets rather classically inspired at times. Heavy as it becomes, it’s one of the most purely progressive rock oriented pieces here. There’s a cool, echoey mellow bass bit later that eventually takes the song out.

Jack’s Johnson

Percussion starts off “Jack’s Johnson.” That percussion grows as it continues. Then about half a minute in, other instruments join in a rather psychedelic arrangement that’s tasty. As it continues sans vocals there are lot of progressive rock layers and sounds added to the mix.

Redass

This is noisy and heavy. It seems like a cross between the noisier sounds of modern King Crimson and some heavy metal. It’s quite short.

Zacron 3

This number opens with modern metallic progressive rock sounds. At times there are some fusion-like elements. Then other sections seem to combine early Black Sabbath with modern progressive rock. More extreme metal sounds are heard elsewhere. It’s a diverse track with a lot of different things happening. It’s also one of the highlights of the set.

Wom Tates

Bouncy, playful and strange, “Wom Tates” is very intriguing, too.

Layla

There’s a noisy folk rock sound to this and yet some weird soloing later brings in progressive rock. It’s one of the stranger cuts on the set.

 

 

Samba Classico

The instrumental that closes the set is another highlight. The cut seems to combine classical music with progressive rock and even spaghetti western soundtrack music to create something very special.

 

 
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