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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zombie Picnic

A Suburb of Earth

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental set is part jam band, part trippy psychedelia, part space music and part prog. Like space rock, nothing really changes that quickly. The music more evolves than it does burst forth most of the time. These four pieces all segue into one another. The shortest piece is over seven and a half minutes in length, while the longest is almost four minutes lengthier than that one. The whole disc weighs in at just a couple minutes less than forty minutes. This is guitar laden and trippy stuff, but it has bursts of real power. All in all, it’s quite an effective ride that’s well suited for fans of modern instrumental guitar based prog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
The B141 Frequency

Percussion starts this and gets quite thundering and involved. There are blips and bleeps and other sounds that come across the top. That combination holds things for about the first thirty seconds. Then guitar comes in and takes things into more of an almost alternative rock vibe. There are proggy edges to it, though. This becomes sort of a wandering kind of evolving jam from there. This has some psychedelia built into it. It’s a killer instrumental that really covers a lot of ground. I love the fuzz dominated section in particular. A mellower, rather trippy movement takes over from there. There are some jazzy elements at play at times here. There are some spoken bits as a soundbite as it approaches the eight minute mark. A new section powers out from there, taking it forward in great ways. This is classy stuff that’s more jam band rock in that movement. There are more soundbite voices as this continues to work forward. This ends with William F. Buckley talking about hippies.

The Adamite Bomb
The spoken thing from the previous cut starts this piece. Then we get some mellower jamming joining. These sound bites are all taken from the same broadcast. It’s a famous discussion show from 1968 hosted by William F. Buckley and featuring Jack Kerouac, Ed Sanders and Lewis Yablonsky. It drops to just the interview part mid-track. Then a hard edged jam emerges. That becomes are more soaring, energized instrumental movement.
The Cylindrical Sea
This seems to come straight out of the previous tune. It starts as a dreamy, trippy jazz infused thing. From there some noisy fuzz drowned stuff emerges, though. Then it gets more melodic, but riff driven and still retaining that crunch. We’re taken into a more pure melodic based slower groove from there. This continues to evolve and has some of the most purely prog rock based stuff of the whole album at times. It changes pretty much constantly as it works forward, though. There are lots of intriguing movements. There are some strange sound effects around the four and a half minute mark. Then it launches to a cool slow moving jam from there. It’s melodic and very measured as it makes its way forward.
The Rama Committee
As this comes out of the previous piece there is a voice heard that is a reading of Arthur C. Clarke. The mellower, dreamy music that is heard is classy stuff. By around the minute and a half mark it has evolved into some harder rocking stuff. Half a minute or so later there is shift to even more rocking music, but it’s closer to a jazz fusion territory. That eventually gives way to a return to the earlier melodic stuff. This eventually gets more energized as a smoking hot melodic jam takes things in new directions. By around the seven and a half minute mark we get more narration over a mellower section of music. The cut powers way up before dropping down for the final reading at the end.
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