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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Billy Sherwood

Divided by One

Review by Gary Hill

I like pretty much everything Billy Sherwood does. The man is a talented musician and really knows how to create cool progressive rock. This album features Sherwood in a completely solo capacity, doing everything on the set. This set was originally released as a digital only set in 2014, but has just now been set out into the world as a CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
On Impact

This comes in with a real prog element right at the start. It works out from there through some great shifts and turns. This definitely makes me think of Yes a lot. I love the climbing section that takes it at a couple points. Later in the piece there is a dramatic movement with a real symphonic sound to it. It almost makes me think of a cross between Emerson Lake and Palmer and ELO.

The Scene Comes Alive
Not as much of a powerhouse as the previous cut, this has more of a modern prog edge to it. It’s more electronic in a lot of ways, too.
No Stone Unturned
Somehow, this reminds me a bit of Toy Matinee. That’s a good thing. It’s more pure prog than the more hard rocking, almost pop edge that that group often had in the classic days, though. This is a cool tune. It’s sort of in between the first and second song in terms of intensity. I love some of the keyboard and bass work in particular.
Between Us
Although the tempo on this is rather leisurely, the cut is pretty intense. Some of the keyboard sounds make me think of ELP. The piece has some rather crazed elements over the top, really. Yet, it’s overall is a melodic mid-tempo rocker.
Divided by One
The title track is another vocal laden prog rocker. It’s a bit uptempo from the previous piece, but still not really a fast cut. It’s another that makes me think of Yes, quite a bit, this time Open Your Eyes era.
Sequence of Events
There is almost a soulful elegance to some of this. It’s a cool mid-tempo prog rocker to it. I love some of the keyboard elements we get to hear.
Sphere of Influence
I really love the bass work on this. There is a definite world music element. In some ways this cut is more mainstream than some of the others, though. It’s another great slab of modern progressive rock that leans toward the classic. There are some intriguing shifts and changes. The cut even leans toward psychedelic territory at times.
Here for You
This is definitely more of a mainstream rock cut. I love the guitar soloing. The balance between mellower and rocking is great. There are some cool atmospheres and vibes here. The “wall of voices” acapella section at the end is great.
Constellation Codex
Somehow this makes me think of a proggier version of the spacey edge of The Beatles at times. It has some more soaring prog at other points, too. The jamming later takes us into some cool space psychedelic territory, and there are some stellar keyboard moments before that, too.
End of an Era
There is a bit of a soulful feeling to this one, like there was on “Sequence of Events.” Beyond that, it’s another effective piece of modern progressive rock. It has some cool twists and turns, making it one of the more purely proggy pieces on the album. There is an almost fusion oriented jam later in the track, too. There are some decidedly Yes-llike moments later, too.
 
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