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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Various Artists

Spirit of Sireena Volume 9

Review by Gary Hill

These collections are always interesting. This one is no exception. The two things that connect all this music are the fact that these are all songs from albums released on the Sireena label and all were released in 2014. Beyond that, there is quite a range of sounds and styles. That said, over half fits under progressive rock, so that gets the album included there. This would make a great introduction to all these releases. I should mention that I’ve reviewed quite a few of these songs on their original releases. For the sake of consistency those track reviews are used or adapted for use here.

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
Freedom - Dusty Track

This smoking hot rocker has some great riffing and some killer guitar soloing. It’s a lot like Cream as far as I’m concerned. This jam wanders towards space rock and has some definite proggy elements later in the number. There are moments that even make me think of Hawkwind a little.

Tribute - Scottish Mystery
This has a great balance between harder rocking and mellower. The mix of prog and fusion is quite well balanced, too. As you might guess from the title, this includes some Celtic music in the arrangement.
General Lee Band - Dead and Gone
I love the raw blues rocking vibe on this cut. Since it was originally by Molly Hatchet, it’s got all the Southern rock you’d expect with plenty of harder rocking sound mixed into it in this version.
Nattefrost - Transformation
To me the start of this is stronger than the rest of it. It evolves into more dance music meets Kraftwerk sound. It’s still a good piece.
Jochen Br├╝ckner - Looking Back
This is a straight ahead rocker. Yet, it has some hints of Hawkwind’s more mainstream hard rocking side. Add in some pop music to the mix, and you’ll be on track to analyze this one.
Cinema – Rushhour
There is a bit of an electronic dance music vibe here. It’s almost like a cross between Vangelis and Kraftwerk in some ways, too.
Paul Roland - Meadows of the Sea
This is a smoking hot rocker. It’s got a great riff and groove. It’s not really prog, but it’s fun.
Ramses - Look at your Neighbour
Now, this is definitely progressive rock. It’s on the AOR side of prog, but definitely prog. It’s quite dramatic and has hints of psychedelia. It also has some hints of Pink Floyd to me. I like this cut a lot. The harder rocking jam later is a nice touch. Somehow some of the guitar soloing later in the track makes me think of early Iron Maiden just a little. Mind you, this is still proggy and not metal in the process.
Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
One need look no further than the band name to know this isn’t progressive rock at all. This live recording is a lot of fun. This is high energy for sure.
Keef Hartley Band - You Can't Take It with You
This is pretty amazing stuff. Take a jazz rock vibe and some proggy influences and merge them together in a smoking hot jam. This has a funky groove and a really soulful rock and roll vocal delivery. It’s high energy and very tasty. Around the two minute mark they take it out into a smoking hot instrumental section that feels just a little like early Yes (Banks era) to me, but with a wailing saxophone. They turn that into a really inspired and powerful jam. Eventually it drops down a bit to a less rocking version of itself. It gets a little crazed, though. It gradually builds in intensity, too. After that extended jamming they drop it way down to a slow, mellower bluesy bit before powering back up into more pure jazz rock to continue. The vocals return and we’re completely back into the song proper. The short closing section even has a bit of psychedelia in it.
Bad News Reunion - Moon over You
In some ways this reminds me of Crosby, Stills and Nash, with a bit more of a progressive rock edge. There are hints of psychedelia, too. I like this cut a lot. It has a great vocal arrangement and a cool groove.
Schaper, Engel & McGrogan- Who are We

This has a lot of rocking energy in it. In some ways, it’s the most mainstream progressive rock of anything from this outfit. That said, there is still enough quirky, electronic sound to keep it interesting.

Nattefrost – Norse
Imagine merging Vangelis with Tangerine Dreams most electronic side. You’d be pretty close to what this sounds like. It’s great stuff.
 
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