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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Existence

Live in Montreal

Review by Gary Hill

I’d never heard this act before. Their brand of progressive rock is quite cool. It’s often AOR based, but wanders into fusion, King Crimson like sounds and much more. This live set finds them entertaining start to finish with some definite surprises.

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
No Hero

Hard rocking prog, this is very much an AOR number. I could see, with a different arrangement, this being made into a metal stomper. There is some jazz in the mix, and the instrumental section really makes me think of classic King Crimson. The violin adds a lot to this.

The Journey
This instrumental (there are some non-lyrical vocals) is more pure progressive rock and fusion in nature, but does share a bit of the AOR sound with the opener.
Autumn Brain
In a lot of ways this piece is even more dynamic than the first couple numbers were. It starts with a mellower, more balladic progressive rock sound. It builds out after a time into more rocking territory. I particularly like the guitar and violin solos later in the piece.
Rebirth
This harder rocking number comes in with a really dramatic and powerful arrangement. It has some potent jamming that lands closer to fusion. Then it drops way down to mellower territory. There is some great melodic instrumental interplay as this continues to evolve. This instrumental is extensive and especially tasty.
The Last Battle
Starting mid-tempo, this speeds up after a short time. It continues to shift and change to about the two and a half minute mark. Then a false ending gives way to a new song structure that moves it forward. World music and more combine as this comes into being. Another shift occurs later when a new mellow progressive rock arrangement takes over. By around the six and a half minute mark the piece has been reborn again in a mellow and dramatic jam. The piece continues evolving from there, keeping a pretty great balance between prog and fusion. It’s an extensive  composition and also a dynamic one. This is nearly instrumental, with the vocals coming in over a mellow prog jam after the twelve minute mark. It works to more rocking territory with the vocals driving it. It should be mentioned that the lyrics get a parental advisory.
Business As Usual
We’re back into AOR prog territory with this screaming rocker. It’s another killer tune on a disc that’s full of the same.
In the Kingdom of Madness
World music, jazz and rock are all stirred together on the beginning of this composition. It’s a mellower piece than the previous one, but does rock out at times. This definitely works through quite a few changes. It has some powerful melodies and some beautiful ones. The vocals come in late on this number, too. The piece has dropped to very mellow territory by the time they enter. There is a great hard rocking jam later in the track with some particularly cool guitar soloing. After that, around the twelve minute mark, it works to some odd Rock in Opposition like music.  A balladic piano based vocal movement takes it from there. It builds organically from there until it eventually powers out into a more rocking jam again. This is a real epic piece, weighing in at over twenty minutes in length.
Another Fine Day Of...
There is a powerhouse progressive rock jam that opens this. It evolves as it holds it for more than the first two minutes of the piece. Then it drops way down to a mellow movement to continue. The piece continues to grow and eventually builds out to more very hard rocking sounds. It’s quite a dynamic and effective instrumental.
 
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