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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sons of Hippies

Griffons at the Gates of Heaven

Review by Gary Hill

I like this disc a lot. It sits somewhere between space rock and psychedelia, but there are other elements, too. At times it’s even a little punky. Female vocals dominate. The guitars are generally fuzz-laden. It’s got a lot of variety and is just plain cool.

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
Forward

This rises up gradually with a psychedelic space rock vibe. When the real rocking joins it has an almost punk vibe to it, but the layers over the top bring a Hawkwind-like sound to the table. There are some more mainstream prog leanings, too. I like the female vocals and this is really quite a cool tune.

Mirrorball
I love the multiple layers of vocals on this song. There is almost a B-52s meets dreamy psychedelia vibe to this cut.
Dark Daisies
Space rock sounds lead this out. Then some crunchy guitar joins. It does feel sort of like a metallic Hawkwind with some modern avante garde music in the mix.  There’s a killer stoner metal riff later, but still enough of those space rock elements present to keep it from falling into metal territory. This is quite a dynamic and diverse cut. It’s one of the best here.
Rose
More of a dreamy psychedelic sound permeates this cut, but there are even some hints of country music here.
Spaceship Ride
Surf rock meets space rock on the first section here. This gets into more pure mainstream progressive rock later, but there are some more of those hints of something like The B-52s. Some Beatles-like psychedelia is heard on the guitar solo.
Man or Moon
The psychedelic meets space rock vibe is strong here and this is one of the most accessible cuts here. It’s almost like a cross between Hawkwind and 1960s pop rock.
Magnets
The overall tapestry isn’t really changed here. Still, this is a different song than any others we’ve heard here. The driving bass is great, but so is the vocal arrangement.
Blood in the Water
There is definitely a strong punk rock element here. Still, there’s enough prog and space and psychedelia to keep it from landing in the punk category.
Whatever We Spend
Here is another with a healthy helping of punk rock. Still, it’s far from pure punk and there are some cool shifts and changes here.
Minute X Minute
Some of this makes me think of the latest Rush album. That said, there is also plenty of Blue Cheer in the mix on this. It’s a smoking hot rocker.
Animal Battle
The hard rocking element that drives this is quite tasty. There are a lot of things like sitar to bring the psychedelic and other leanings, though.
Cautionary Tale
The mellower section that opens this really makes me think of Hawkwind. It fires out to a more melodic jam (that still has plenty of the fuzz driven psychedelic sound) that is among the slower and mellower of the set. It’s no less effective, though. In fact, the vocal hooks on this tune are some of the best here. This is actually one of the more diverse pieces on the disc.
 
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