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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Echolyn

I Heard You Listening

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always liked Echolyn. This new album of theirs, though, is a different thing altogether. Definitely a contender for best album of the year, it is probably their finest album to date. The prog rock on this is stunning. I highly recommend this set. It’s a winner from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Messenger of All's Right

Some sounds build and then keyboards enter. The rest of the instruments join and we’re off on a great progressive rock journey from there. The vocals come in and bring some great tones and mood with them. This is one heck of a ride, moving along various sections. Everything is just so cool here. This is decidedly modern progressive rock, but with its basis in the classic stuff.

Warjazz
As good as the opener was, this really ups the stakes. It’s a fast moving jam for the most part. There are elements of fusion in the mix here. Some of it makes me think of Genesis a bit. It shifts and changes. It’s just such an amazing piece. In fact, it might be my favorite here. It really rocks like crazy at times.
Empyrean Views
A bit mellower, there is some psychedelia to this at times. It also has some elements that make me think of The Beatles a bit. In some ways it feels jazzy, too. Some of this has such a great 1970s mainstream rock vibe, too. The extended instrumental movement later is really drenched in classic progressive rock stylings. That gives way to some very psychedelic stuff that ends the set.
Different Days
A fast paced, harder rocking jam opens this. It really soars and shines with a rather ELP like sound. It drops back in terms of intensity and pace for the vocal section. More powered up jamming comes back from the chorus, but the verses are more mellow. A mid track instrumental section really rocks. There are definitely some jazzy elements at times in this tune, too. This explodes out into a killer rocking jam as it approaches the five and a half minute mark. After that runs through, it drops way down to continue.
Carried Home
There’s a cool bouncy, jazzy kind of introduction. From there it works to something with some space rock elements at play. As this cut continues to shift and grow it has some of the coolest grooves of the whole disc.
Once I Get Mine
Jazz and rock merge on this fast paced rocker. It calls to mind Kansas in some ways. I also think of Dixie Dregs in some ways. This is fast paced and just so cool, though. This is really a very tasty prog rock powerhouse. There are quite a few shifts and turns as this thing moves forward. A short instrumental section later calls to mind King Crimson.
Sound of Bees
This one comes in with some ambience. It works to mellow progressive rock from there. Eventually this builds out into some really powerhouse stuff. It’s one of the most evocative and powerful pieces of the disc. Given the competition, that really says a lot.
All This Time We're Given
A harder rocking number, this has some great tones and grooves built into it. There are some Kansas like things along with some that are closer to ELP. Yet, this really rocks more than either of those bands in some ways, particularly the scorching guitar solo. I love the vocal arrangement on here. The thing is, the vocals on the whole disc are great. They just seem to truly excel on this piece. It’s so hard to pick a highlight on this disc, but this might be one.
Vanishing Sun
This is quite a satisfying closer. It has a nice balance between harder edged and more melodic sections. It’s in similar musical territory as the rest of the album, making it almost feel like a “wrapping things up” kind of piece. Everyone puts in a great performance and the song writing is top notch, too.
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