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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rocket Scientists

Supernatural Highway

Review by Gary Hill

Rocket Scientists don’t release music as often as I wish they would. Of course, the guys tend to be busy with other projects. So, it’s understandable. I just really like the band and would love to hear new stuff from them more frequently. When you get a new Rocket Scientists disc, you can count on great progressive rock. Beyond that, though, it’s harder to predict. I was still pretty surprised by this set. That’s because it’s basically an EP at a little over 30 minutes in length, but it’s only two songs – and one of those is less than five minutes long. Still, I was not surprised by the quality. These guys just do everything right time and time again.  The core group of Rocket Scientists is Mark McCrite, Erik Norlander and Don Schiff. On this disc they are joined by Gregg Bissonnette, Greg Ellis, Jon Papenbrook, Eric Jorgensen and Lana Lane.

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

Track by Track Review
Traveler on the Supernatural Highways

At over twenty six minutes in length, this is a real epic. It’s also a pretty amazing ride. Atmospheric elements start it and it grows out gradually from there. Around the minute and a half mark, it starts to get a more rocking groove built up to move forward. This thing continues to evolve in some great ways. There aren’t a lot of rapid shifts and changes. Instead, it seems to shift and change gradually. That is, until about the ten minute mark. Then it drops down to a symphonic segment. Then we’re taken from there into a nice melodic mellower movement. About a minute and a half later, though, it drops to near silence and starts to build out in a rather restrained, but jazzy way. The piano and bass both work to create drama as it continues to work forward. After a while this grows out into a real rocking jam. It’s got a jazzy groove and the keyboards lend a bit of a Pink Floyd sound to the piece – circa Wish You Were Here. Still, the funky bass makes this very fusion-like. As guitar grows over the top it takes on an ethereal kind of space rock vibe. This just keeps shifting and evolving from there. It’s one heck of an inspired jam. I love the retro keyboard stylings. After the 17 minute mark, percussion takes over for a time. They work out into another fusion-styled movement from there. They take it back into more rock styled territory as they continue. Before the twenty four minute mark, it gets dropped way down again and the bass leads the way as layers of keyboards are heard over the top. Although there are some hints that it might rise up again, it never does. Instead, ambience takes it out.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Here’s an instrumental take on one of the lesser known James Bond themes. I like this version. It seems to capture the jazzy vibe one expects from Bond themes, while bringing some psychedelic prog into the mix. It’s a fun balance to the seriousness and epic scope of the other piece.
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