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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pontus H.W. Gunve

Pontus Gunve – IV

Review by Gary Hill

I think I’ve heard pretty much everything Pontus Gunve has ever released. With that in mind, I’d say that this is probably his best release yet. The mix of prog, metal, jazz and more on this set is exceptional. It’s not a huge world apart from his catalog in terms of style. It is just the current peak of his songwriting and performance skills.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ten

The acoustic guitar sounds that start this bring a bit of folk meets psychedelic texture. As the piece builds into electric jamming, it takes on more of a hard edged element. It’s part progressive rock, part heavy metal, part jazz and a lot more. It’s an amazing piece of music as it tears through. It drops back for more psychedelic territory at points, too. The cut evolves by exploring and revisiting various sections. This really does cover a lot of territory. Then again, when you consider that it’s ten minutes long (probably the reason for the title), one would expect it to do so.

Misirlou
Coming in with a metallic flourish, this works out to a crazed kind of take on surf music. There are definitely middle-eastern sounds built into this thing, too. It’s high energy, suitably odd and very cool. This may only be two and a half minutes, but it’s all magic. It abruptly segues into the next track.
El Pancho’s Last Journey
Although there are definitely classical elements at play at various points on this piece, this is not a mellow thing. Instead, it’s a powerhouse jam that moves through different sections. The contrast between more sedate and mower fiery is great. There is a cool groove through much of the piece, too.
Red Silver
This comes in mellower with some cool guitar driving it forward. It builds out gradually. It drops down mid-track to a full classical treatment. It eventually works back out to the jam that preceded that movement, but there really is a classical edge retained as they move this beast forward. It gets incredibly intense and hard rocking.
Felix
Powerful and dramatic, classical music, jazz and more merge on this. It shifts and changes and grows. It never feels like the other pieces here, yet it occupies much of the same musical territory. I love how the heaviness manages to convey melody and subtlety. There are classically tinged drop back moments. Yet, it still rocks and grooves. The intensity never lets up even when it gets mellower. The later, hard rocking sections of this piece are absolutely amazing. This is the kind of music that will likely have you catching flies because your mouth is hanging open with amazement at the instrumental prowess. They definitely saved the best for last. Given the competition, that says a lot.
 
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