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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gustavo De Beauville

Volume 1

Review by Gary Hill

While some might disagree with putting this under progressive rock, I just don’t see where else it fits. Sure, this instrumental rock has a lot of heavy metal in the mix. There’s not enough to land it there, though. Additionally, this has shoe-gaze and other modern progressive rock mixed in throughout it. It’s mostly guitar driven, but that doesn’t apply to everything. Overall, this is a diverse instrumental set that’s very entertaining from start to finish. There are plenty of highlights here.

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
Release the Kraken

Part heavy metal, part progressive rock and all cool, this powerhouse instrumental has great riffs and a really cool sense of drama. This is mysterious, crunchy and powerful. It’s just so cool and a great way to start the set in style.

Jagannath
This almost seems like it’s equal parts Testament, Rush and King Crimson. It’s got some awesome crunch and some great riffing. Still, it’s quite proggy at the same time.
As I Slither
There is a great contrast between mellower and more powered up sounds on this piece. It’s part metal, part moody progressive rock and all cool. There is a real ominous element to the mellower sections on this thing.
From the Light
The section that starts this is pure progressive rock. As it works out later it’s got fusion and metal blended together in a killer jam. There are some great shifts and changes on this one. As good as everything to this point has been, this definitely surpasses what has come before.
Seeking Solace
Here we get a big change. This is pretty much purely electronic based progressive rock. Comparisons to Kraftwerk and Vangelis are both valid. There is a dark tone to it, though, linking it perhaps a bit more to industrial music in some ways. Whatever you call it, though, it’s an effective piece and some real variety.
Ancient Courage
Talk about contrasts, this song has them. It comes in feeling a lot like California Guitar Trio. That sound holds it for a while, but gradually gets a bit more crunch added to the mix. Eventually, though, it works out to a thrashy kind of jam that’s very cool.
Visions from Above
Although there are some metallic elements here and it does stomp out some later, this is pure progressive rock jamming. It’s got a lot of atmosphere and texture in the mix. The bass line is pretty impressive. Overall, it’s more variety and another great jam.
Insectoid Trails
This one never really gets any metal in the mix. It’s kind of like a cross between Kraftwerk, California Guitar Trio, Tool and King Crimson. If you can wrap your head around that, you’ll be prepared for this melodic rocker.
Sands of Allure
There is zero metal in this piece, either. It’s quite close to California Guitar Trio, but with a little bit more of an oppressive darkness to it. It’s another helping of variety and class.
Red Giants
Quite mellow, this is atmospheric and pretty. It’s close to something like Vangelis, really. Again, it brings some definite variety to the set.
Losing Innocence
Here we get another song with a lot of contrast. The first half of this is set more in the atmospheric California Guitar Trio like sound. Then, near the end it gets some thrash added to the mix.
In a Shaman's Dream
This is atmospheric progressive rock with a lot of drama. It’s got an almost space rock vibe, but also merged with that CGT kind of sound. It’s one of the standouts here as far as I’m concerned.
Oh Divine Raven
This is another I’d peg as a highlight of the set. It’s got a lot of that CGT vibe, but also some jazz and space rock. It’s one of the mellower tunes, but it’s got so much drama in the melodic elements that it just really sells it. There’s almost a bluesy texture at times.
Take to the Skies
Here we get another especially strong cut, and another with a lot of variety. While parts of this are closer to the CGT end of the spectrum, it also gets some real metal pulled into the mix. The melodies and atmospheric elements both work well to keep this quite interesting.
In Defiance
The closer is another with a lot of contrast. It starts in more of that mellow territory. Before it’s over, though, we get some of the most purely metallic jamming of the whole set. The whole thing is dynamic and diverse, working through different sounds and sections as it continues. It’s alternates between harder rocking more melodic movements throughout.
 
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