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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gong

Rejoice! I'm Dead!

Review by Gary Hill

Daevid Allen was the heart and soul of this band. After his passing it might seem odd that a new Gong album would be released that captures the spirit of Gong. Strange as it may seem, that's exactly what we have here. This is a great disc that combines psychedelia and prog in ways that are trademark Gong. Allen would probably love this set.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
The Thing That Should Be

Coming in hard rocking, this becomes a cool psychedelic rocker as it continues. I like this a lot. It does a great job of grabbing the listener and drawing him or her in. The instrumental work on this brings it more fully into the prog rock realm.

Rejoice!
Jazzy prog brings this thing into being. It works to a more mainstream rock sound for the first vocals. That jazz comes back in shortly, though. There are some breaks and changes that make me think of early King Crimson quite a bit. It drops to a mellower space jam movement around the two and a half minute mark. As the cut continues to develop from there and guitar starts soloing over the top I'm reminded again of King Crimson. As this continues to grow it gets into hard rocking and energized prog territory that almost seems to merge King Crimson with Rush. They move it back to more melodic jazz leaning sounds as this continues to evolve.
Kaptial
This is great stuff. It's harder rocking and seems a lot like Hawkwind with some great jazz and King Crimson like elements at play. The instrumental section gets pretty trippy.
Model Village
Mellow music serves as the backdrop for bits of spoken vocal that feels like "found sound." It's quite Pink Floyd-like, really. Once the cut moves into the "song proper," the mellow psychedelic based sound remind me still of Pink Floyd. There is some world music in some of the melodies as this thing develops and grows.
Beatrix
There are more spoken elements on this. The cut feels like some old jazz piece. The vocals that come in feel distant. I believe they are in French.
Visions
This is trippy and atmospheric with distant vocals over the top. It's a fairly constant and rather mainstream bit of psychedelia.
The Unspeakable Stands Revealed
Coming in trippy and atmospheric, this is an extensive piece. It grows gradually upward as it shifts toward a jazzy kind of energy. I really dig the guitar soloing that emerges later. The driving bass line is particularly noteworthy, too. The instrumental introduction is longer than a lot of songs. The music works out to a bit more of a mainstream, modern King Crimson linked sound as the vocals enter. This continues its killer musical journey from there with some great meaty musical passages. It gets into some pretty amazing jamming later as powered up prog, jazz and much more merge. This is such a powerhouse piece of music. Indeed, the second half of this might be the most powerful music of the whole album.
Through Restless Seas I Come
This is another fairly trippy bit of psychedelic prog. As it works out later it becomes a harder rocking prog jam that's very effective.
Insert Yr Own Prophecy
Psychedelic hard rock opens this feeling a bit like Pink Floyd. The cut shifts to some jazzy weirdness for a bit of time. Then it continues shifting and evolving. This is really quite a dynamic and diverse musical adventure.
 
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