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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Direct Divide


Review by Gary Hill

I very nearly put this one in heavy metal. A lot of it lands in the epic metal category. Some of it even manages to get into more pure old school metal. Still, there are sections that are more alternative rock based and others that lean towards progressive rock. Whatever you call it, though, this female fronted (one song has some male vocals) band produces some powerful rock. I like this one a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review

There’s a rather intricate and involved keyboard based introduction. Then it works out to a hard edged jam that’s quite tasty. I like the sound of this a lot. It’s got a lot of great layers of sound and just plain rocks. There are some nice symphonic overtones later, too.

Writing on the Wall
What an amazing song this is. It starts of with a real alternative rock kind of vibe. It grows out into sort of an epic metal kind of stomper. I like it a lot. It’s definitely a highlight of this set. I’d recommend this one to just about anyone. If you don’t like this song, you probably won’t like this band at all because it’s about as good as it gets.
The same mix of sounds as we heard on the previous piece drives this one. It’s another strong song. The vocal arrangement here is, if anything, more emotional than that on anything else we’ve heard here. That makes this one really work well.
This one doesn’t really have any metal in it. It’s more of an alternative rocker with both mellower and more powered up sections. The strings add a lot to it, but the vocals really sell it.
The balance between the melodic mellower movements and the more metallic ones is striking. The melodic sections have almost a progressive rock element to them. This is another strong piece. The piano adds a lot to the mix on this one. The mellow string section based movement mid-track particularly brings home that prog reference.
Here’s a real metal powerhouse tune. Still, it’s got enough of the alternative rock and melodic sounds to balance it out. It’s suitably fast paced and energized.
Break the Cycle
Piano starts this one. It works out into the heaviest number of the set. This is less about epic metal and more about old-school real steel. It does get into some almost progressive rock oriented stuff later in the piece, though. This is pretty powerful stuff. I love some of the guitar riffs on this thing and the whole number is one of the best here. In fact, it might be my favorite track.
Won't Be Alone
This is like that old “Sesame Street” thing: one of these things is not like the others. The cut starts with an alternative rock based movement that has male vocals and hints of country music in the mix. After a verse and some change, the female voice returns and it becomes a verse by verse duet. Both voices are heard on the chorus. More layers of sound and musical oomph are added later. This does rise up to more or less epic metal stature in the latter sections.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

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