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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Great Game

The Great Game

Review by Gary Hill

This is clearly not the kind of progressive rock prog purists will expect. It’s certainly progressive music, though. There are sections here that will be familiar to prog fans, though. In fact, some of it really reminds me of King Crimson. There are other things here, too, though. Those range from world music to jazz, reggae, space rock and much more. No matter the mix, though, this is compelling and effective music for those who like to take musical chances.

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
Science

This comes in with world music, jazz and more merging. It’s far from mainstream or simple music. Yet, it manages to rock out and feel catchy at times. In some ways, this makes me think of what a modern version of early King Crimson might sound like.

Religionism
There is definitely a lot of reggae and ska built into this. Yet, it’s still got some musical oddities built into it. This is more mainstream than the opener was, though. There are some reggae raps built into this, but also some moments that lean toward space rock.
The Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma
Reggae and Dixieland merge here, but that’s not all. Some jam band sounds and even some space rock seem to show up here. This is an unusual mix of sounds, yet it’s also very effective. This is one of my favorites of the set, really.
Television
With a lot of world music in the mix, this also works into jazz territory and more. It’s another that in some ways makes me think of what a modern early King Crimson might sound like. There are some great backing vocals and scorching horn soloing.
Bipolaroid
The mix of sounds on this is pretty amazing, too. It has some really hard rocking sounds. Yet, overall, I’d consider the song construction to be progressive rock more than anything else. There are some spacey, jazzy sections later, too. This really defies categorization except as “cool.” The instrumental jam later is full on crazed noisy prog. It definitely calls to mind King Crimson.
Elhechizo De Hoy
Jazz and world music merge here. This has both male and female vocals. At times they take the vocals alone. At other times, they combine. This does get into some rather soaring jazz prog territory later.
Poetry in Motion
The mix of sounds here is similar to a lot of the rest. Jazz, rock and more merge on this energetic jam. Some Spanish horns and other world music appears later in the piece.
Hungarian Dream
I love the blend of world music, fusion and soaring prog on this cool number.
Pax Romana
The blend of sounds here includes world music, jam band, jazz and prog. This is one of the most powerful pieces of the whole disc. That’s due both to the lyrics and the music. In fact, this might be my favorite cut of the set really.
And the Blind Man Lead the Way
In some ways this makes me think of Primus a bit. It has a lot of jazz built into it, but also some sounds that are almost metal. There is some musical theater in this, too. It’s weird, crazed and also cool.
Elemental Raven Storm
Less crazed and more melodic, this is another great mélange of sounds. Jazz, world music, jam elements and more make the mix here.
Slave Magic
Dramatic and rocking, this has a cool groove and lots of great touches.
The Great Game
Another with a lot of groove, there are some musical theater like moments here. This is the most blatant jam band based thing here, but it still has a lot more going on, too.

 

 
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