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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hildegard

Hildegard

Review by Gary Hill

I really like this album a lot. It’s modern, but seems closer to old school prog than to the modern variety. Renaissance is a common reference point. Still, it wanders into pop territory, space music, fusion and more. If you are looking for some cool modern prog with a lot of classic sound in the mix, give this a try. You aren’t likely to be disappointed.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A-Z

This is a pretty amazing mix of sounds. There is an almost modern pop music vibe to this at times. Yet, there are sections that call to mind Renaissance for sure. Other things feel more like the kind of music Peter Gabriel does. This shifts and changes frequently and has some awesome instrumental prog passages, too.

Sally Brown
As this starts with sort of a folk prog concept I’m again reminded of Renaissance. The cut gets into more modern prog territory as it powers up, though.
Siren Song
This number is mellower. It feels a lot like jazz. There is some space music in this melodic, rather sedate tune, too.
Karma
All over the place, this number is very creative. It’s definitely modern, but it has elements of fusion and other retro sounds. It’s noisy at times and melodic at others. It’s spacey and yet also driving. It’s a powerhouse song on a disc without any weak material.
Cabin 72
Another mellow and melodic cut, the keyboard sound on this brings a great retro element to the table. This is spacey and smooth and so tasty. The piano soloing adds a lot to this cut, particularly bringing a real jazz like vibe.
Austria
This is a completely different type of song. It has a real space rock vibe. In some ways it reminds me of the more rocking side of Klaatu maybe. The synthetic vocals add to that comparison. There are space rock elements swirling around this thing, too.
Isolation
Mellow folk prog is the idea here. It has some elements of psychedelia and space, too. It’s trippy and quite effective. As the arrangement fills out later it gets extremely lush and powerful. It takes on classical touches in the process.
The Witness
This one is pretty wild. It has a more freeform approach in a lot of ways, yet it’s still accessible. I love the distant kind of feeling to some of the vocals. The harder edged fusion meets world music and RIO jam later in the track is great, as well.
Quetzal
More of a melodic progressive rock number, this has a lot of folk music and more in the mix. It has some jazzier sections that make me think of Peter Banks era Yes, too.
Vanishing Hue
The balance between mellower and more powered up on this cut is great. It’s a very melodic number in a lot of ways, but has a lot of peaks and valleys. It’s also one of the most powerful tracks here. Those things make it a great choice for closer.
 
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