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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Todd Grubbs

As the Worm Turns

Review by Gary Hill

Clearly not everything here is progressive rock. Quite a bit of it is, though. The thing that is constant here is a sense of quality and exploration. This is a guitar driven album, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a guitar showcase. There are no instrumentals, with a number of different singers throughout. This is an album with a lot of variety. It’s also an album that’s quite entertaining and unusual.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Man in the Hat

Weird space music starts this. The cut launches out from there into some triumphant sounding, technical prog jamming. It has hints of metal, but is very much the prog end of that spectrum. The cut has some killer rocking moments as it changes. The first vocal segment probably brings it closer to metal, though. Other bits are more purely prog, though. References to things like Dream Theater are not out of the question.

Stay Alive
There is a cool mellower prog jam at the start of this. It turns out to harder rocking stuff later, though. This is definitely a tasty prog rock song. I really like the piano section at the end.
The Other Side of Forever
The female vocals on this bring a real soulful element to the table. The song is sort of a blues rock kind of thing. Yet, it’s twisted toward trippy psychedelia at the start. When it gets into the song proper, it’s more mainstream rock. There are some proggy elements here and there, but overall, this one really doesn’t land under prog. From the scat singing to the great guitar soloing, though, it’s a strong tune for certain.
We Are One
Although this smoking hot rocker might be less prog than some of the rest here, there are definitely progressive rock elements at play. This has some smoking hot guitar soloing at times, too. It’s very much in line with some of the 70s guitar driven stuff, but with a more modern edge built into it.
Venus Is Falling
The female vocals are back on this rocker. It’s definitely part mainstream rock and roller. There are a lot of prog elements at play, too. I love the scorching hot jamming on the bits instrumental fireworks.
Living the Good Lie
Another screaming hot rocker, this is part old school guitar rock and part King’s X.
My Name Is Joe
As this opens it makes me think of a cross between Primus and Frank Zappa. It drops to a cool bluesy rocking sound. It’s again a bit like Primus. The spoken bit mid-track is part psychedelic rock, part Primus and all cool. There is a killer sung section beyond that. It again makes me think of Zappa a bit. The vocal arrangement on the closing section is cool.
Johnstown
With country, folk and more in the mix, this rocker isn’t the proggiest thing here. That said, there are still elements that are proggy.
Fabric of the Day
With piano and lots of backwards tracked stuff, there is a lot of jazz and trippy psychedelia at the start of this piece. When it gets into the song proper, it really has a jazz prog vibe. This is a great tune with some cool evolution.
It's Redunkulas
There is a lot of funk built into this. That said, I can definitely make out more of that Zappa thing.
Escape from You
Although this starts off with more of that killer guitar based rock sound, it really works out to some pretty crazed prog territory later. This is a dynamic and powerful cut. It’s a great way to end the disc in style, too. It even drops to some classical music and sound-effects at the end for a nice conclusion.
 
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