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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Soniq Theater

Heroes of the Past

Review by Gary Hill

There are a few things you can count on with Soniq Theater. One of those things is a new release just about like clockwork. This is that new release. Another is a lot of keyboard work on the album. This disc is very much electronic keyboard based music. It’s arguably one of the more monolithic discs in the catalog, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a solid disc that should please fans of Soniq Theater.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Robin Hood

This comes in feeling a bit like science fiction music. As the pounding, electronic rhythm section enters the whole feeling is altered. Then, when the keyboards driving the melody join we’re taken into something that feels a bit like Vangelis mixed with Rick Wakeman.

Pioneers and Heroes
There is more of a jazzy vibe as the keyboard sounds start things here. The feels meatier and more serious. There’s a real air of majesty to this one. The Rick Wakeman reference is again valid, though. There are some great melodic excursions on this number.
Lemuria
As this opens it feels more magical and mystical. There is a real sense of adventure and mystery to it. Later sections get quite majestic.
Sailing Columbus
Gentle keyboard tones start this one and the cut moves out gradually from there. Then around the thirty second mark it gets an energized rhythm section and the piece starts shifting and changing. This is quite a diverse and dynamic number and one of the most effective of the whole disc.
Richard the Lionheart
This hard rocker really makes me think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer quite a bit. Some of the melodic moments lean more towards Wakeman, too.
Maharajah
Starting mysterious and ominous, this grows out keeping those elements in the mix. It has some cool melodic lines and really is one of the better pieces here.
Uther Pendragon
The section that opens this feels a bit playful. Again I’m reminded of Rick Wakeman’s solo work. It has some majestic moments later. A more rock and roll like jam ensues further down the road, too.
Ancient Dreams
A slower piece, this just oozes class and cool. It’s got some great melody and is one of the best pieces of the whole disc. I really love this one.
Time Loves a Hero
Bouncy and more rocking at the start, there is a lot of jazz in the mix on this one. It drops to a mellower interlude before the opening melody line returns and eventually powers it back up into being. It alternates between mellower sections and more driving ones, but the main melodic structures persist throughout the piece. There are some killer keyboard soloing moments on this number.
Little Cowboys
A more gentle piece, this has some jazzy moments. Again, it makes me think of Rick Wakeman a bit at times.
The Gold Diggers
After a cool electronic introduction this bounds out into something not that far removed from disco. Still, this is more electronic prog than it is disco. It just has some leanings in that direction.
The Ruins of Xanadu
This musical exploration is quite tasty. It just feels so much like the rest of the stuff here that it seems to lose a bit of an edge. There are some dramatic moments here.
 
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