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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Brian Tarquin

& Heavy Friends – Guitars for Wounded Warriors

Review by Gary Hill

This album is designed to raise money for the Wounded Warriors project. It was organized by Brian Tarquin and he composed the pieces. He enlisted a wide array of talented musicians to put it together. This is a guitar heavy instrumental album that has elements of metal and elements of fusion. Overall, I’d put it under progressive rock, but I could see people arguing with that. What I can’t see argument over is the quality. This thing is impressive and powerful. And, it benefits a good cause. You can’t beat that.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Black Hawk featuring Billy Sheehan

This screams into being and features some pretty amazing jamming. As one might guess, this has some amazing bass playing. There are sections of this that definitely make me think of Frank Zappa.

Taliban Terror featuring Bumblefoot & Rob Beach
Heavy and fast paced, this still manages to be melodic. In some ways this makes me think of Dream Theater a bit, but with a more straight metal vibe at the same time. The mellower drop back mid-track is definitely very fusion-oriented. There is a crazed section further down the musical road that clearly lands this in progressive rock territory.
Charlie Surfs featuring Chris Poland
A short percussion showcase opens this. From there it works out to metallic fusion that’s pretty awesome. The mellower, melodic section is more pure fusion. There are moments here that almost feel like King’s X to me.
5 Klicks to Hell featuring Gary Hoey
The riff that opens this feels very much like Black Sabbath. The cut gets more of a progressive rock or fusion vibe with some of the unusual melodic elements that come over the top of that grind. There is an aggressive section later that makes me think of Judas Priest quite a bit.
Surgical Strike featuring The Flyin Ryan Brothers
Imagine combining modern King Crimson with some extreme metal. You’d probably wind up with something like this. It’s so heavy, so meaty and just so cool. Everything on this disc is strong, but this is one of the strongest.
Hunting featuring Chris Poland

This powerhouse is a real screamer. While it’s closer to true metal than just about anything else here, there are enough tasteful variants to keep it from landing there.

Baghdad featuring Gary Hoey
Fast paced, heavy and proggy, this is more powerful instrumental rock.
Broken Arrow featuring Alex De Rosso

Melodic, but also crunchy and heavy, this is another powerhouse.

Sand & Blood featuring Hal Lindes

Much more of a melodic piece, this definitely has a lot of progressive rock in the mix. It’s a real climbing and soaring kind of number.

Escape Kabul featuring Chuck Loeb

Combine Joe Satriani with Cream and you’ll be close to one section of this. The other part is more of a melodic fusion element.

Freedom featuring Steve Morse

Starting with piano, this is a mellower and more melodic jam. The guitar soloing over the top, though, is purely inspired and on fire.

 

 
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