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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Points North

Points North

Review by Gary Hill

I really love the fact that so much modern progressive music draws from all kinds of diverse things. I mean, old school prog touched on things like folk, classical, jazz and more. It seems that the modern type of prog is even less restricted. Things like jam band music, heavy metal and more is on the table. A lot of prog purists don’t like that. For me, it’s great. This is an exceptional example of just that kind of style diversification.

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
Ignition

This comes in like some furious mix of metallic prog and fusion. As it evolves I can make out varying things from Rush to the Allman Brothers and Dixie Dregs. This is a powerhouse jam. An instrumental, this thing is full of shifts, changes and drama.

Northstar
I love the short bass solo that starts this cut. It works out from there into a rocking element that again reminds me just a little of Rush, but with a bit of a metal vibe. It’s more of an AOR sound, particularly at first. As the jam continues to evolve we’re taken into more of a jam band turned prog sound, but the harder elements remain, too. The bass really drives a lot of this cut and takes it for another short solo mid-track.
Child's Play
Built heavily on a fusion skeleton, scorching guitar really steals the show here.
Sky Punch

Another smoking hot jam, this combines Southern rock, fusion and prog.

Rites of Passage
Here we get a mellower, more melodic piece. It does a great job of combining prog, fusion and jam music. It does have some more powered up moments along the ride.
Colorblind
This is the only song to feature vocals. It’s a more mainstream AOR prog meets jam band kind of thing. It’s quite effective, too. Bass takes the lead at the start of the killer instrumental section later. Then the combination of prog, jam band and fusion takes over from there. There are even hints of metal and the bass really shines before we’re returned to the song proper.
Harlequin
The guitar soloing, quite strong throughout the set, really gets ramped up here. The piece is part guitar god music and part fusion. It’s all strong.
Turning Point (La Villa De Villers)
Harder rocking and a bit more mainstream, this leans toward metal in some ways. Still, it’s more a combination of jam and fusion. The bass really stands out on this one. The melodic movement later lands more fully in fusion. There are even some hints of space rock late.
Redeye
The general formula is unchanged, but this is a great tune. I love some of the guitar soloing, but the whole piece is strong. The bass gets to show off here, and there are parts that land near Rush and even metal.
Foxes & Cougars
Southern rock meets jam band on this cut. There is some fusion here, too. Rush is also sometimes a reference. It’s another killer hard rocker.
Killer Pounder
There are some great shifts and changes on this scorching hot song. It has some great instrumental work from everyone. It’s screaming hot. It’s also a great combo of all the various styles we’ve heard throughout. That makes it an excellent choice for closer. The fact that it ends on some of the most intense jamming of the whole disc reinforces that.
 
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