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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Charles Brown

Wind of the Eastern Sea

Review by Gary Hill

I really love this album. It’s instrumental and powerful. It’s part progressive rock, part fusion, part jam band and yet that’s not the entire picture. Most of the time it flows seamlessly from one track to another in sort of a singular musical journey. This is great stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Awakening

A dramatic and powerful introductory passage gives way to something that’s almost heavy metal. As it moves forward the prog elements are laced over the top. This has some space rock in the mix, too. After a time it drops to a mellower, prog ballad type movement. It eventually works back out to the more rocking territory.

Dragon's Triangle
Seeming almost like an extension of the previous cut, this powers forward. The cut even shifts toward fusion further down the musical road. A mellower section emerges, but this one isn’t as balladic. Some screaming guitar soloing comes out after that segment and the piece just keeps evolving. Later it works through reincarnations of the earlier segments. The section that takes this into the next piece includes some particularly inspired guitar soloing.
Nothingness and Eternity

Somehow the keyboard based movement that starts this makes me think of the beginning of “Baba O’Riley” a bit. It works out to more seriously rocking territory. The guitar really guides it, but other elements add to the magic. This leans toward fusion, but also lends well in the rock zone. Working through variants on the various movements, that keyboard based section returns mid-track.

New Horizon

We get some tastefully noisy guitar soloing near the start of this. The cut is another slab of the same variety. That said, it’s not likely to be mistaken as one of the other pieces. This combination of hard rock, fusion and more is unique in delivery, if not general musical territory. This one has some of the meatiest, rock oriented guitar soloing of the whole disc.

Wind of the Eastern Sea

This one comes in with mellow music built around picked guitar. It has a rather space rock turned fusion kind of vibe. It starts rocking out more around the thirty second mark. This one has some particularly cool changes. I love the keyboard dominated groove later, in particular.

Above the Mist

A consistently mellower and more melodic piece, I like this one a lot. It’s a great change. It’s also a bit of a respite from some of the more intense stuff. Yet, it still has drama.

Tower of the Wind

In stark contrast to the previous one, this powers out early into some hard rocking sounds. It drops down after a short time, though, to mellower stuff that almost makes me think of Pat Metheny. The shifts between contrasting harder edged stuff and more sedate is one of the real strengths of this piece.

Vanishing Point

Acoustic guitar opens this and moves it forward in delicate, rather classical patterns. That ends around the one minute mark with some space rock giving way to some serious technical metal styled building. Eventually the cut shifts to more straightforward hard rock. That said, it doesn’t stay there long, moving to fusion and more. This is a killer cut that shifts and turns quite often. The range between extremely mellow, extremely metal and everything in-between is classic.

Astral Projection

This number is nearly pure fusion. It even gets into some funky territory at times. It’s a great change and a lot of fun. It reminds me of something like Herbie Hancock in places, too.

Touch the Sunlight

Although this doesn’t seem to have as many changes as some of the rest do, it’s still a solid song. The guitar soloing really steals the show on this number. It does have a nice balance between mellower and more rocking territory, too.

Nuclear Burn

Intricate guitar and keyboards meandering about make up the opening section here. They create an almost space meets jazz kind of vibe. Then some scorching hot guitar enters and we are taken into a very metallic movement. Keyboard jam over the top of that backdrop. Then a guitar soloing section that’s more thrash metal takes over from there. As this continues to evolve there are some amazing musical moments. I particularly love some of the keyboard soloing on the final section.

 
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