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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Innsmouth Gold

Illustrations of Madness

Review by Gary Hill

This set is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s theatrical and often atmospheric. It’s quite frequently unsettling, too. I know that it’s probably not progressive rock, but it’s certainly artistic music. That lands it in the vicinity of prog as far as I’m concerned.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Atlantic Depths

Atmospheric sounds that lean toward noisy make up the concept at the start here. It rises gradually upward, and a warning claxon sounds. Some melodic keyboards come in, and after a time the claxon fades away. Slow moving melodic elements guide it forward. This piece combines moody space music with something that feels like it would fit in the soundtrack of a horror film.

Waltz in Carcosa
The sounds of waves serve as the backdrop for a spoken recitation. Then weird Arabic music rises. A waltz (as the title suggests) ensues from there. This is very much a playful world music kind of thing.
Sanity Check
Weird spacey music that’s somehow oddly accessible serves as the backdrop. Spoken, echoey bits are heard almost in the background. Insane laughter and female chorale vocals also show up on this piece. It really does feel a bit crazy.
The Miskatonic Scale
The sounds of a classroom with a lot of echo is heard as this starts. Then a piano plays scales as they are announced. As the Miskatonic Scale is announced, chaos erupts with weird music, screaming and much more.
The Shuttered Room
In some ways this reminds me of the weird proggy things Alice Cooper often does. There is a child’s voice (or at least it seems like s child) over creepy yet strangely pretty music. The voice seriously twists at the end.
Maldine Square
Organ melodies create one of the most rock like pieces here. The piece is purely keyboard based, though. It’s not really rock music, but it does have a driving energy that makes it more like rock. It’s also suitably weird. After a new movement emerges and holds it for a while, the cut shifts around the four and a half minute mark to more symphonic instrumentation (or at least sounds). It still has a driving tempo and intensity, though.
Nyarlathotep
Cool musical melodies create atmosphere and majesty. Sound effects are heard along with a spoken recitation. The piece grows in wonderfully weird and creepy ways from there. Later even weirder music enters, and we get another recitation.
Tell Tale Heart
This opens with a very Alice Cooper like spoken section. It moves out from there with keyboard based processional styled music. This has more rock in it than a lot of the music here does.
Don't

Piano melodies serve as the backdrop for spoken warnings. This is dramatic and powerful. It’s one of my favorite pieces here.

The Mountains of Madness
The sounds of a train announcer and a train are just part of the visual imagery that leads this. We get an airplane and more as the sound effects continue. Keyboards create melodies later, but weird sound effects take over again before it’s done.
 
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