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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Focus

Focus and Friends - Focus 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon

Review by Gary Hill

This new disc is intriguing. It's exactly the kind of thing you'd expect from a Focus based release. This is very much fusion type stuff that's quite creative. It breaks a lot of boundaries and doesn't seem afraid to try things. It's not all my kind of thing, but it's pretty cool, nonetheless.


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
Focus Zero

Drums lead this out of the gate. Then piano joins. The other instruments gradually come into play, creating a prog soundscape that seems to have equal parts classical music and jazz at first. It works outward as they continue with more of a rock and jazz element driving it. This thing has some very freeform sections along with some that are more melodic. There is some pretty impressive bass work on this thing, too. The piano has some standout moments, as well.

Hola, Cómo Estás?
The rhythm section starts this off with the bass really driving it. They power in from there, basing the music on killer fusion. This has some vocals. That makes it even more fusion oriented. There is a more rock based segment later in the cut, too.
Rock 5

Mellow and quite fusion oriented, this is a tasty cut for sure. It works through some intriguing shifts and changes. We get some pretty crazed stuff at times. I love the piano soloing that comes over in a movement later.

Millennium
There is no huge change here, but this is another smoking hot fusion cut. This one stays more melodic than some of the rest do. I love the guitar soloing on this number. There is a bit of a Latin edge here. This has an extensive drum solo, too.
Inalta
In some ways the melodies on this cut are more compelling and accessible than those on some of the rest.
Talking Rhythms
This piece is divided into two sections, "Conversations of Drums" and "Conversations of Drummers." As you can guess from those titles, this is all about the rhythmic structure. This first half is delivered via drums. The second half via scat singing. .
Surrexit Christus
This has some seriously funky stuff within it. It's definitely a fusion kind of piece.
 
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