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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Vigilance Committee

Exit a Hero

Review by Gary Hill

This is definitely progressive rock as far as I’m concerned. It’s not the prog of the 1970s, though, but the modern variety. At times I hear things as diverse as Rush, alternative rock, Yes and King Crimson. If you are a prog purist, you should probably steer clear. If you have an adventurous side, though, give this a chance. There is plenty to like here.

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
Set the Pacific on Fire

The song starts with a fast paced bit of weirdness that makes me think of Primus. From there it launches into more alternative rock based modern progressive rock, but that part returns here and there. This is high energy, unusual and strong.

Taking What's Mine
A bit off kilter, this combines that alternative rock leaning type of prog with a lot of other things. There are even some moments that seem related to fusion. At times it even makes me think of modern Rush a little. This is a powerhouse jam that’s very cool.
186

Although it’s definitely modern, this is a lot closer to traditional prog. There are hints of Rush again, but other more traditional prog shows up, too. This cut has a lot of shifts and turns. It’s one of the strongest things on the disc. I love some of the keyboard sounds on this a lot. There is also some particularly noteworthy bass work on this, at times making me think of Chris Squire just a bit. There is a Yes-like jam later in the number, too. There is a spoken section at the end of the piece.

Villains
This cut is pretty amazing. It has an earlier more melodic movement that presents probably half the song. It builds, grows and evolves during that. There are sections that definitely remind me of King Crimson. They turn it out into a fast paced and very hard rocking jam from there.
Physics of Form
Dramatic and powerful, there are a lot of mysterious elements to this. It’s fast paced and changes frequently. There is a lot of excitement here. There are moments that are more melodic countered by some things that are almost punk or metal.
Expositor
Less frantic, this cut is more melodic. Still, it has plenty of progressive rock elements. It’s one of my favorite songs here.
Montgomery
The opening section here is fast paced, but also rooted in traditional prog, but with a bit of crunch. More alternative rock based prog takes over after a time. Then it shifts to weird (but very cool) section that’s very hard rocking yet has layers of pure prog over the top. It drops to a mellow movement from there before powering back out into the alternative prog. There is another spoken section, a continuation of the story from the previous one, at the end of this piece.
Reflections II
There are no big surprises here. Instead we get a diverse piece of alternative rock styled prog. It has plenty of cool shifts and changes.
Vigilantes
I love this song. For one thing the arrangement shifts this way and that with a lot of great contrasts. For another thing there are some seriously soaring moments. This is definitely one of my favorites here.
Exit a Hero
This is another of the best of the disc. It combines that alternative rock like style of prog with more classic progressive rock. The piece flows seamlessly through a number of shifts and changes. It soars at times. It’s just such a great melodic prog powerhouse. It’s an excellent choice for both title track and closing number.

 

 
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