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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Fractal Control

Disconnection Equals Freedom

Review by Gary Hill

This is definitely going to be the kind of review where people argue about it landing under progressive rock. Sure, a lot of it is very metallic, sometimes to the extreme end. There are more melodic movements, though. Besides that, this is complex to the point of insanity sometimes. There are things going on here that seem like they are either mistakes or so crazy in terms of design and execution that I can’t wrap my head around it and make sense of it from a musician point of view. I am going to err on the side of saying that it’s planned that way. If that’s true, then the complexity and experimental nature of this alone lands it under progressive rock. This is definitely not for everyone. It’s noisy, extreme and often incredibly chaotic. Some of it could even be called “non-musical.” I’m going to assume that it’s that way by choice. That makes this incredibly advanced stuff.

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

Track by Track Review
Hidden Truth

The echoey sound that starts this feels a bit like surf music. There is almost a punk rock edge to it, though. Then some seriously thrashy guitar joins. It’s still tempered with enough melodic music to keep it more in the progressive rock vein than on the metal edge of the spectrum. There is some tasty guitar soloing. It does lean a little toward noodly at times, but not for long enough to be a problem. A short synthetic spoken sound bite at the end serves as the only non-instrumental item here.

Awakened and Aware
On the one hand, the intensity and fierce guitar sounds on this land it near heavy metal, and extreme metal at that. The technical precision and crazed changes throughout, though, put this more in the vein of progressive rock. Again, Rush is a pretty decent reference point, but so is Dream Theater. The later section, though, gets a little more melodic. Some of the timing on that segment seems a little strange, though.
Starved for Change
This is incredibly diverse, almost to the point of being schizophrenic. It starts with a crazed metal section. Then after a time it drops down to mellow jazz. There is more metal later in the piece, too. It basically alternates between those two musical thoughts.
Discovered Through Thought
Chaotic and weirdly timed, this is strange stuff. Yes, it’s crunchy. It’s definitely not metal, though. It gets pretty extreme. It’s like thrash would sound if played by some Rock In Opposition act – or maybe like a thrash metal band doing RIO. The closing section is more melodic, though.
Retrace
The most melodic and purely proggy thing here, this is a fairly short bass solo. At least I think it’s just bass. There could be some guitar on it – or it could be a down tuned guitar. Either way, it’s played more like a guitar than a bass, but is very low like a bass. It’s an intriguing and intricate piece of music.
Released Mind
This thing is insane. Thrash, progressive rock, technical metal and jazz all collide violently here. Yet, there is a mellow section, lead by the bass and soloed over by the guitar, that is very melodic. It’s quite a fusion kind of thing and a sharp contrast to the rest of the piece. That section ends the piece.
Already Ourselves
A pretty and rather intricate piano piece, the only thing accompanying this is another of those synthesized spoken vocal sections.
 
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