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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Charles Brown

Light of the Dawn

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental album is pretty good. It’s got a mix of hard rock, at times almost metal and more mellow progressive rock sounds. There’s a decent range built into this. Still, there is a bit of a samey element here. Also some of the pieces seem a little under-developed in some ways. That said, though, it’s an entertaining listening experience that works pretty well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
The New Earth

As this piece starts it’s with melodic elements that make the listener feel like he or she is about ready to launch into something epic and very special. Those sounds hold the piece for the first forty seconds or so. Then a crunch guitar riff takes over and they build it out into a stomping rocker that’s got both metal and Deep Purple like vibes to it. As keyboards solo over the top it again it brings it more purely into the progressive rock vein again.

Beyond the Sky
The sound that opens this up feels like it could go into a metal tune. The melodic guitar soloing over the top of the introduction is quite tasty. The piece builds out from there, at times feeling metallic and at times feeling more pure progressive rock oriented.
Sea of Clouds
Although this one comes in harder rocking, it quickly shifts to more pure melodic progressive rock. Still, hard edged guitar soloing comes back up. The cut is another that balances the prog and metal elements nicely. At times this one makes me think of Rush just a bit. There are parts of this that feel tied to fusion, and particularly a melodic fusion.
Ocean of Storms
This stays clear of the metal sounds for almost a minute, lingering in a mellower, space rock kind of mode. Then it powers out with a smoking hot riff from there. This piece is over nine minutes in length. It works through varying between mellower modes and the more rocking ones until around the five minute mark where it drops way down to atmospheric elements. It gradually builds upwards from there in a lush progressive rock sound. Although this grows, it remains entirely in the melodic progressive rock stylings with some space rock surfacing at times through the waves of keyboard sounds.       
Sea of Rains
Some of those space rock elements seem to be heard right at the start of this. Then it works out to a prog movement before we get some crunch guitar. That sound takes us to the end of the introductory section and it shifts to something more like fusion. That fusion gets more metallic sounds added to the mix. There are some minor hints of Celtic music heard at times here and this works between the crunchier sounds and the mellower ones as it winds its way through the musical map. I have to say that one recurring sound here is something that reminds me of The Who.
Earthshine
This is a short piece that is all melodic progressive rock.
Light of the Rising Sun
Solo acoustic guitar opens this and holds it for the first 40 seconds or so. It feels a bit like something Steve Howe might do. As other layers of sound come over the top that Howe kind of leaning is reinforced. This grows out into a great progressive rock sound. Then around the two minute mark it shifts towards more metallic sounds and somehow I’m reminded a bit of Dream Theater. That more melodic element returns as a counterpoint.
Outside of Time
Melodic progressive rock opens this up and holds it for a time. Then a crunching progression takes the track. After working through with variations on these themes the melodic prog that opened this returns to take it out.
The Final Frontier
There really isn’t any metal here, but this does rock out. It’s more of a hard-edged progressive rock jam with bits of more purely melodic mellow sound interspersed.
Light of the Dawn
This piece is a mellow and quite pretty progressive rock excursion. There’s no metal in the mix here.
Marillion Medley: Kayleigh / Easter / Sugar Mice / View from a Hill
As the title suggests, this is a medley of Marillion songs. This steers clear of metal territory and just delivers the songs with a real melodic prog sound.

 

 
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