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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Edensong

Years in the Garden of Years

Review by Gary Hill

This brand new album from Edensong is pretty amazing. It's modern prog rock, but it's also well steeped in the traditional old school sounds. There is a lot of hard edged stuff, but also plenty of particularly mellow music. Electronic instruments and sound combine with traditional world instrumentation. There is an opening cut and a closing one as the only two independent pieces. The rest are all part of a multi-track title suite. This a sweeping and very dynamic set that's also extremely effective. It is a contender for the ten best of the year list, but that field is getting crowded, so we'll see.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Cold City

This powers right in with killer fast paced prog rock. There is a bit of a Celtic edge to it. It gets some crunch added to the mix as it moves forward. Elements here make me think of Jethro Tull. Other things call to mind Dream Theater. Still, it's an ever-shifting musical tapestry that just plain rocks. This powerhouse introduction is about two minutes long. Then it drops way down for the first vocal section. That's delivered in a balladic fashion, but the cut powers out from there to more rocking stuff. This is just such a cool piece of music. There are more rocking movements and mellower ones contrasted with each other as the song continues to evolve. The hard rocking instrumental section later seems to merge a fusion kind of vibe with Jethro Tull and Deep Purple. A movement with group vocals takes it from there. They rock out like crazy as it continues.

Years in the Garden of Years
               

End Times in Retrospect

This killer instrumental comes in mellow and rather classically oriented with acoustic guitar and violin driving it. It gets a burst of oomph as it continues, but yet that drops away to leave the mellower stuff. Around the one minute mark it powers out to a rocking jam that again makes me think of both Dream Theater and Jethro Tull. It keeps shifting and growing as it moves forward. There are some fusion-like sections later in the track.

In the Longest of Days
In contrast to the previous track, vocals bring this one into existence from that one. The cut work out to a melodic number that's more "song" driven. While this is less crazed than some of the rest, and a bit mellower, it's also packed with emotion and power. It's another excellent piece of music, really.
The Hollowed
Starting with something not unlike a gong, this moves forward with a classical meets world music vibe. The cut works out to a motif that's more decidedly prog rock. It's quite dynamic. There are mellower sections and more powered up ones. Parts of this are definitely tied to folk prog. Other things are more classic progressive rock type stuff. All in all it's a very effective piece that's packed full of variety. A piano solo mid-track gives way to a definite classical movement. Around the seven and a half minute mark it resolves to something that makes me think of early Genesis, but then it brings more symphonic stuff to play for a time. The piano takes over again, and it builds out gradually from there.
Down the Hours
Fast paced and harder rocking, this fires out of the gate in stark contrast to the last one. After a time it works to a mellower drop back that's tastefully odd. They alternate that segment with the more rocking one as the tune continues. There is a nearly metal jam later in the piece. While it has prog elements in it, it's so close to thrash at times that it really does feel metallic. That said, you don't expect violin and other such things at play in thrash. After that segment works through it drops way down to atmospherics. That eventually moves it into the next movement.
Chronos
Coming in mellower and more mainstream, there is really a jazz kind of vibe to the start of this. It eventually powers up and works forward. Even then it's in more of a melodic prog motif. It does get a bit more crunch in the mix as it continues to develop, though. By around the four and a half minute mark it has really powered up to near heavy metal. Then it drops down to a piano and bass driven segment. The evolution continues until drives out into another almost metal movement. Then as it approaches the eight minute mark, it drops to more of a percussion workout. It drops back to world music that eventually takes this instrumental to the end.
Generations
Bass with some atmospherics starts this. Vocals and some keys join as it builds in mellow ways. Although this never rises to the level of hard rocking at all, there are noisier textural elements dancing around the arrangement as it grows.
The Atman Apocalypse
Hard rocking sounds bring this in. It's like a proggier take on epic metal in some ways. This works out from there into a killer hard rock prog song. It has some balance between mellower drop backs and harder edged stuff, but the more metallic side wins out more than the other way around This is a definitely a cut that calls to mind Dream Theater to me. There is a cool melodic prog jam that emerges around the six minute mark. It eventually gives way to a revitalized version of the earlier section. A powerhouse jam takes over later that moves into some pretty crazed territory.
Regenerations
Starting quite mellow, this becomes a powerful progressive rock ballad type piece. There are really some pretty melodies here. The song is quite evocative, too. They eventually build it out into a real prog rock powerhouse. It has some incredible layers of sound built on the basic bones of the piece. This is very much classic prog.
Yawn of a Blink

The final track of the disc is not listed as part of the suite. This is another powerhouse jam. It's part Dream Theater and part metal along with some fusion built into it. There are some pretty amazing musical passages that emerge later in this cut. It's a really strong number front to back. The flute again begs comparisons to Jethro Tull at points.

 
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