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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soniq Theater

Stardust Memories

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reasonably effective and strong prog album. It moves between quite a few different styles, but fits well into the Soniq Theater catalog. That said, there aren’t a lot of suprises here. It’s good, but just sort of standard fare Soniq Theater. In other words, you don’t have to have this one to own the best work from ST, but it is worth having and spinning.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Alien Ambassador

A symphonic prog flourish opens this cut and then the tune works out from there. At points it reminds me a bit of Genesis and at other times there are other sounds driving it. There’s mellower section with retro keyboard textures later that’s cool. There are definitely hints of ELP on this number, too. Fusion is also a valid reference point at times here.

Lunar Sea
Starting off with a mellower, intricate section, this works out from there. That intricate nature remains, but in a bit different form. This is sort of a mellower cut, feeling almost New Age. It’s also a good tune. It’s definitely not as dynamic as the opener, and is more atmospheric and ethereal in some ways.
Elysian Fields

There’s more of that New Age element here, but mixed with something more akin to mainstream progressive rock. This one is bouncy and fun. There are more shifts and changes to it and at times, it wanders towards fusion.

Venus Transit

Spacey keyboards opens this. Then an insistent, pounding drum beat joins. From there, it launches out into a killer jam that’s part progressive rock and part fusion. There are quite a few changes and alterations here and at points I’m reminded of Emerson Lake and Palmer.

Globular Cluster M55

Mellower, this is suitably spacey. It’s one of the mellowest pieces on the disc.

Hyperion

There’s a space vibe here, but a lot of fusion, too. This does feel a bit too much like the previous piece, though.

Break the Frame (guitar version)

A hard rocking tune, this has vocals. It’s kind of like a weird prog meets space rock kind of jam. It’s more guitar oriented than some of the other stuff. In some ways, this reminds me of the harder rocking side of Klaatu.

Alien Civilisation

There is some Asian influence on this, but overall it’s electronic progressive rock meets fusion.

Some Things Never Change

Bouncy and rather playful, this is one part fusion and one part progressive rock. It’s good, but by now too much of the album is starting to sound the same.

Stardust Memories

There’s a bit of a funky vibe to the title track and in some ways it reminds me a bit of Spryo Gyra. It’s a cool energetic number with a good combination of electronic prog and fusion.

Metropolis on Mars

We get a cool Latin vibe to this thing. It’s a tasty number that’s a step back in the right direction in terms of variety. It’s definitely more fusion than it is anything else. Somehow it reminds me a bit of the modern electronic stuff Herbie Hancock did at one point in his career.

Toccatina

This is a relatively short keyboard dominated piece that reminds me a lot of something Rick Wakeman might do.

Infinity
The closing piece is less than two minutes in length. It’s fairly mellow and rather pretty.
 
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