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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Whale Fall

The Madrean

Review by Gary Hill

This lands very much in a modern prog rock style, but informed by classic prog, jazz rock and more. I really like the meshing of sounds here. It’s fresh and fairly distinctive. The closest comparison, though, would probably be to Giant Squid. That’s not a tight fit, but it is a fit.

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

Track by Track Review
The Dawn Thief
The first half of this song has an old school jazz rock kind of sound to it. It has a great driving groove, too. It works out later to sort of shoe-gaze type material. It’s tastefully noisy, rather drone like and very cool. It reminds me a bit of Giant Squid.
I Shall Sail No More (No More Shall I Sail)
The same mix of sounds is present here, but it’s more of a merging than one section followed by the other.
Slower and very heavy, this is great. As much as I liked the two previous pieces, I think this is much stronger. It definitely makes me think of Giant Squid, but perhaps merged with a jazz band. It turns to more high energy lighter hearted progressive rock from there.
On River, On Route
This one has more of a mainstream jazz prog vibe in some ways. It’s not a huge change, but everything here is so good that it doesn’t matter.
El Pistolero
An organ drone starts this. We’re taken to something more intricate and developed from there. This is another that lands closer to mainstream progressive rock music than some of the rest does. It does get a distorted edge and energy later, though. It also works towards noisy space music at times. They bring it into more symphonic territory for a while as it gets reinvented in a mellow fashion. From there it turns towards more purely classical music, but the noise drone continues, lending a different flavor. This song is close to nine minutes in length, so a rather epic composition. They use the extra room quite well.
Overpass LA
This moves from something that makes me think of early Pink Floyd space music to something that again calls to mind Giant Squid, and then comes back down again. It’s closer to the first couple songs than the last few have been. It’s a typical space music piece in that nothing changes fast, but it definitely changes. It’s great stuff.
Heart Space
Here’s a rocking number that’s not all that different from the rest of the music in terms of musical territory. It’s nothing even close to a clone of anything else, though. It’s another intriguing slab of space music with jazz and shoegaze built into it.
The Madrean
The closing title track is over nine and a half minutes in length. It starts with an extensive grind that makes up the first half of the piece. From there it eventually works out to a more melodic progressive rock based movement. This really does work through a lot of changes, even if they come gradually.


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