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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dani Vargas Group

Sound on Canvas

Review by Gary Hill

There is definitely a guitar god kind of vibe here. At times the reference point seems to be Yngwie Malmsteen, at other points Ronnie Monstrose. At other moments Eddie Van Halen might seem the influence. All in all, this is a cool disc that combines that kind of sounds with some great prog and fusion.

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
Suspension

There’s a killer bass groove that opens this. As it works out from there guitar that’s part fusion and part Yngwie comes across. This is a great hard rocking groove with smoking hot instrumental work at play. They take it through several shifts and changes and it’s just plain awesome start to finish.

Crimson Sundown
This one isn’t quite as incendiary as the opener and might land more into the rock territory than fusion. Still, it’s in a similar vein and works equally well.
The Trip
More smoking hot jamming with an emphasis on guitar is included here. This one is perhaps more like pure progressive rock than anything to this point. It’s got a definite classical edge to it.
Portrait in Blue
Another that gets started off on the bass, this is a slower tune, but still has plenty of “oomph” and drama packed into it. There’s also a little bit of blues and some just plain cool textures.
Someday
While this isn’t a dramatic departure, it’s far from a do it all over again thing. New melodies emerge in another guitar heavy arrangement.
Colours
The guitar that steers this one is among the coolest of the bunch. The only thing is, by this point there is a certain monolithic nature starting to permeate.
Above the City
More along the lines of Satriani, this is another strong cut, but by this point, it’s all starting to seem the same. It’s starting to feel like one very long song. This is a case where songs taken individually are clearly going to be better received than sitting through the album start to finish.
Tracks in Motion
With more energy and feeling a bit like Montrose does fusion, this is a bit of a step back upward.
Sound on Canvas
More pure jazz, this is another that infuses some well needed variety to the proceedings. There is even some Spanish guitar built into this one.
Brush of Blues
This is sort of an old school acoustic guitar blues number. It’s a guitar solo with some sound effects in the backdrop and it’s quite intricate, if a bit short.
Road to Nowhere
More of a rocker, there’s a bit of Eddie Van Halen built into this tune. It’s a good return to the earlier modes that benefits from having a little break.
Burnt Sienna
This is another guitar driven excursion that’s pretty cool. It’s still a bit samey, but by this point, after that bit of an interlude, it works fairly well. There are definitely some intriguing fusion-like shifts and changes here.
 
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