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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Seconds Before Landing

The Great Deception

Review by Gary Hill

This concept album is pretty cool. It’s got a dark and gloomy vibe to it. Most of the music sits somewhere along the modern progressive rock heading, but it stretches into more classic prog and towards techno and electronic music. One recurring theme here is that commercials end most of the pieces. There’s only one song that just doesn’t seem to work well. Beyond that, it’s a very strong release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
What Could It Be?

Atmospheric elements are the backdrop as soundbites about the Roswell, New Mexico crash are heard. Then there is a voice talking about “something out there.” Eventually some almost tribal vocals are heard as this piece works out.

Welcome, to the Future
This comes out of the previous track. Then a voice says “Welcome….to the future.” A somewhat heavy and slow moving space rock texture laced with lots of keyboards takes the track forward from there. It drops down to more atmospheric textures. There is a computerized voice speaking. The hard rocking section that comes in later is quite well related to Hawkwind. It drops back down for more of the computer stuff. When it rises back up it’s closer to Pink Floyd, but the vocals make me think of Babylon Mystery Orchestra.
Solitary Man
Mellow, rather electronic and quite melancholy sounds are heard on this. It’s essentially a ballad. That said, there are some crunchy guitars later that make it feel more like Pink Floyd. There is some crunchier music later in the tune, too. It includes some tasty guitar soloing.
Instructions
Electronic elements start this, feeling perhaps like a techno version of Kraftwerk. Some crunch guitar enters and it feels a little like Rush. Then some processed vocals are heard and that Kraftwerk element is back on the table. There are some soulful non-lyrical voices after that. Then, after a drop back to the electronic music the guitar riffing really powers up. That mix of sounds carries the piece through.
Alice Springs

This is a pretty and melodic progressive rock ballad. It’s pretty consistent and constant and serves as a nice bit of variety..

Innocent

A lot of this tune is set in an electronic mode. That said, it’s not like the Kraftwerk variety, but rather mellower and more moody. Later, though, it turns more organic. It also turns out into a triumphant sounding, more mainstream progressive rock jam from there. It’s a cool tune.

They're All Around You

This is an awesome tune that combines modern and classic progressive rock sounds. There are some rather electronic elements to this, but there are also bits that call to mind the crunchier side of Pink Floyd. Some soulful vocals are included at points. There are also some great retro keyboard sounds at times. It should be noted that this one earns a parental advisory on the lyrics.

I'm All Alone

Overall, this a mellow and rather slow prog rock tune that’s a bit like something from Phideaux. That said, the guitar solo sections definitely take on a Pink Floyd like vibe. All in all, this tune has a great vibe and is one of the best here.

Elmendorf

Atmospheric with sounds of some kind of disaster open this tune. It eventually works out to one of the harder rocking tunes of the set. I’d have to say that it’s sort of a combination of Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd and Babylon Mystery Orchestra. There are some particularly lush arrangements on this and it really rocks. There are more of those computer voice bits on this number. There is also some particularly meaty guitar soloing.

Down On Me

This tune is heavy and dark. Yet there are enough progressive rock elements to keep this from being metal. It does lean towards techno or industrial at times. There are some particularly stripped down electronic music bits, too. There are also some hints of jazz in this number.

Right Before Your Eyes

Moody and fairly slow, somehow there’s a groove to this cut. It also has hints of jazz in the mix. There are some awesome soulful non-lyrical vocals here. This is a real sound tapestry that conveys a lot of mood and character.

My Time to Go

Starting with fairly lush electronic modes, this works out into something that calls to mind Pink Floyd quite a bit. It’s dark (like the rest here) and understated, but powerful. The female vocals feel processed a bit. It gets faster paced and more rocking as it continues. Those vocals seem more organic further down.

Mikey Get Your Accordion

This mellow tune is rather like Phideaux mixed with Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. It’s not bad, but it really stretches too long without a lot of substance or change. If there is a misstep here, this is it. That said, later in the track there are some moments that have an almost Beatles meet Klaatu vibe to them. Those manage to pull the track up a bit. Unfortunately (like the little bits of female vocals), it’s too little, too late.

Message in a Field

This is a brief little piece of atmospherics with some spoken words over the top.

 
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