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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Siena Root

Pioneers

Review by Gary Hill

If you are a fan of the hard rock that came out in the late 60s to mid 70s, you will probably love this. There are times when it really makes me think a lot of Deep Purple. Yet, this is far from a clone of that band and other acts are worth references here, too. All in all, this is quite an entertaining and diverse set. It might not be the most original thing you’ve heard, but it really rocks.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Between the Lines

There’s a real proggy build up on this. It launches out into a killer riff driven jam from there. This has a real old school psychedelic rock sound to it. That’s blended with both a stoner metal vibe and some proggy keyboards. It’s a fun tune and a great start for the set. There is a mellower segment mid-track that has some great vocal emotion. Then they take it out into a hard hitting but quite proggy jam from there. That mellower section returns after the jam, but they power it back out before they take us all the way to the end.

7 Years
This powerhouse rocker makes me think of Deep Purple in a lot of ways. Still, the vocal hook seems more of a mainstream pop rock sound from the 1960s. This is a great tune. It’s catchy and classic. It’s also quite entertaining. Around the three minute mark we get a mellower jam. It’s part psychedelia, part blues rock and part space. That gives way to a decidedly Vanilla Fudge kind of jam.
Spiral Trip
Imagine a band that merges Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge and Uriah Heep. It would probably sound a lot like this. This thing is fresh, but classic in so many ways. It’s a high energy rocker with a lot of style and charm. This is one of the best tunes here, really. I love the organ solo section. That evolves into a smoking hot retro rock instrumental movement.
Root Rock Pioneers
A bluesy guitar opens this. As the organ comes over the top it definitely resembles early Deep Purple. The two instruments dance around one another for a time. Then they power it out into a smoking hot jam from there.
The Way You Turn
The organ bit at the start of this makes it sound like Deep Purple. They launch into more of a psychedelic rocking jam from there. It’s got some ZZ Top in the mix, though. The cool jam mid-track has some great melodic blues guitar and a driving rhythm section.
Keep on Climbing
While it has some more psychedelic elements, this slow plodding jam is, in many ways, a stoner metal tune – at least at first. It’s got a catchy vocal hook and just plain rocks. It slows down even more later. Then, though, it bursts out into a killer jam that’s part psychedelia and part progressive rock. We’re brought back into the stoner rock section at the end.
Going Down
This is another that makes me think of Deep Purple quite a bit. This is more in line with the Burn era, though, as opposed to the earlier sound of some of the other pieces. It’s another smoking hot, pounding rocker. The melodic jam later brings it almost into soaring progressive rock territory, though.
In My Kitchen
The mellower, keyboard based jam that opens this is part progressive rock and part Doors. When the vocals join, the cut gets more of a bluesy rock element introduced. The jam later combines psychedelia with progressive into something that calls to mind early Pink Floyd quite a bit. That section gets pretty intense and eventually drops us back into the song proper to continue.
BONUS TRACK
  
Whole Lotta Love
They tackle the classic Led Zeppelin tune on this bonus track. It starts with keyboards and as it plays out, it makes me think of what you’d get if some amalgamation of Deep Purple and Vanilla Fudge were to cover the Zep cut. The freakout jam mid-track starts very psychedelic and then turns into a very definite Burn era Deep Purple sound. They eventually move it back out into the main song structure from there to eventually carry it to its ending.
 
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