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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Odin’s Court

Turtles All the Way Down

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I love the title of this. For those who don’t know, there’s an old story (I’m not sure if it’s true and I’ve heard it attributed to many different people) about a scientist giving a lecture. The story says that someone in the audience stepped up and explained that they differed from the scientist’s understanding of the universe. This person believed that the Earth was flat. So, the scientist asked what it’s sitting on. The person said, “an elephant’s back.” When asked what the elephant was standing on the person responded, “a turtle.” Then, when the scientist wanted to know what the turtle was standing on, the person got flustered and said, “it’s turtles all the way down.” It’s that kind of cosmic and intelligent sense of humor that makes this set work so well.

I’m sure those who would consider this heavy metal. I’ve seen this band classified as such. The truth is, though, I don’t think they are any more metal than Dream Theater. For that reason, I’d land these guys under prog. Prog purists beware, though, it contains a lot of crunch. However you label the style, I like this album a lot. Sure, it gets bonus points for the title, but it earns every point it gets with the music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review

Turtles All the Way Down, Pt. 1

Atmospherics with sound effects start this instrumental. It builds out from there into something that’s rather fusion-like. Guitar solos over the top of a more textural arrangement. It drops to atmosphere to end.

And the Answer Is...
This powers out with a killer riff driven jam that definitely makes me think of Dream Theater. It’s hard edged and groove based. But, it’s also definitely proggy. Parts of this are closer to the prog metal end of the spectrum, while other sections are more pure prog (with some crunch). However you label it, though, this is compelling and hard rocking magic.
...But What's the Question?
Although this isn’t a huge change, it’s every bit as powerful. It’s not likely to be mistaken for the same song as the previous one, though. It’s more on the progressive rock end of the spectrum than the metal one, but it still has plenty of crunch built into it.
This comes in with a crunchy, technical metal riff. It gets more progressive rock in the mix as the vocals join. This is another powerhouse of style and energy. As this grows out later it gets into some particularly inspiring and proggy territory.
The Depths of Reason
This killer definitely makes me think of Dream Theater as it powers into being. There is a great section later that takes it closer to stoner metal before they move it out toward fusion.
Turtles All the Way Down, Pt. 2

This fairly short  instrumental has a lot of fusion and even some Pink Floyd built into it.

The Warmth of Mediocrity
Now, this one lands closer to the metal end of the spectrum. Still, it also reminds me a lot of Dream Theater. The instrumental section at the end is more pure prog.
(A Song for) Dragons
This is more of a balladic cut. It has a bit of crunch on the guitar, but is really pure progressive rock.
The Death of a Sun
Here we get another smoking hot Dream Theater like jam. It’s kind of a powerhouse. There is a killer guitar solo section later in the piece that really soars.
Back Where the Daffodils Grow
This high energy instrumental seems to combine nearly equal parts of metal and prog along with some hints of Celtic music and some psychedelia.
Life's Glory
Although this starts on acoustic guitar and runs fairly mellow for a time, it does work out to more hard rocking sounds as it builds later. It’s pretty much pure progressive rock, though. It does have some crunchy, soaring guitar, though.


Turtles All the Way Down, Pt. 3
This instrumental is metallic and cool.
Box of Dice (Does God Play?)
This epic spans more than 17 and a half minutes. Piano starts the piece and it grows outward from there. It definitely has a fusion kind of sound in this early section. This piece is epic not only in length, but also scope. It runs the gamut from metallic to mellower. It has rocking sections and slower ones. The emotion packed into parts of this is simply incredible. This piece is worth the price of admission all by itself. In fact, this song, even without anything else around it, would be likely to land this on my “best of 2015” list. It’s that good, really. If you like your prog modern and with a metallic edge, you really much check this one out.
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