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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Cea Serin

The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay

Review by Gary Hill

I can see some people arguing with this landing under progressive rock. For those who only listen to prog and don’t enjoy metal, surely this will feel like metal. Those like myself who enjoy both of those types of music will recognize that while there are metal trappings here, this stretches well beyond those boundaries and lands as metallic progressive rock. It’s also an awesome album. The target demographic is probably fans of bands like Dream Theater, as this is a lot like that. For prog fans who can live with some definite heavy metal mixed into their music, this is highly recommended.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Holy Mother

This fires in as an extreme metal. Keyboard sound temper it as the introduction continues. Then it gets more melodic. Dream Theater is a valid reference point. Extreme metal vocals enter as the cut turns more toward pure metal. As it works forward some sections land more in the prog end of the equation while at other times it’s more metal. It’s all powerful and compelling, though. It has a lot of changes built into it. That’s for certain. The instrumental section is crunchy, but very much a progressive rock jam. It’s also pretty great.

The Illumination Mask
Keyboards bring this in and hold it. Some bits of spoken sound bite are heard over the top. Eventually it shifts toward more metallic prog. This is a great combination of both metal and progressive rock in an inspired and fast moving jam. The vocals are more metal than anything else, though. They drop it mid-track to a melodic, mellower section that is full on prog. Then more Dream Theater like metallic sounds emerge for the next vocal movement. Some of the later sections really do make me think of Dream Theater’s first album, but with more of a metal edge.
This is mellower and purely progressive rock. It’s a balladic number that’s pretty and also moody. The keyboard elements are great, and the vocal performance is powerful. Acoustic guitar soloing is a great touch.
The Victim Cult
We’re back into fast paced and metallic progressive rock territory here. Some of the vocals are purely metal. Other parts are more melodic. The music is definitely crunchy, but definitely prog. This is another that makes me think of early Dream Theater for sure. There is a great melodic prog section mid-track. This is really a powerhouse in a lot of ways. I love the combination of soaring melodic vocals and more metallic ones.
What Falls Away
At 20 minutes in length, this is a really epic piece. Piano starts this and holds it as orchestral elements come over the top. Slow moving and a little creepy in tone, this holds it for the about the first two and a half minutes. From there it gets a more energized, but still melodic, progressive rock treatment. There are definitely fusion elements and it still lands on the mellower side of the spectrum. The vocals come in over that backdrop. After the five minute mark, it screams out into more of a powered up progression. This is still definitely progressive rock, though – not metal. By around the seven minute mark it does get some metal in the mix. That is mostly from the vocals, but the music is crunchy, too. The cut keeps evolving, though. It moves out into more melodic prog with hints of fusion after that. The melodic vocals are quite potent on this mellower movement. By around the thirteen minute mark, it has gotten more crunch in the mix. Then, though, it drops back to the melodic to continue. Some spoken stuff is heard over the top as the cut continues to evolve. After the fifteen minute mark, more crunch appears. This thing just keeps shifting and changing, though and Dream Theater is definitely a valid reference point. It’s a really powerhouse jam, and I love some of the keyboard soloing in particular. The timing changes and melodic shifts are great. They bring it back out into the song proper after that and it keeps growing as they continue. There is a crescendo before the 19 minute mark, and piano with the sounds of a playground (I think) take over from there. This is worth the price of admission all by itself.
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