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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Izz

Ampersand, Volume 2

Review by Gary Hill

This new album is very intriguing. The music changes a lot from song to song. Rather than full band type arrangements, a lot of this features just one or two instruments, creating even more opportunity for variety. The other thing that accomplishes is to make the full band based pieces seem even fuller and more powerful.

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
Penelope

The blend of female and male vocals on this is quite classy. Piano drives a lot of the early parts of the song. The later parts land in sort of a psychedelia meets prog vein.

Fine
This cut seems to land more in the area of punky alternative rock than prog, but it has some proggy changes and bits of sound. It's unusual and compelling.
Burn (If You Let It)
Piano and voice lead this into being. The cut makes me think of something like Oasis in a lot of ways. It builds gradually without really changing in terms of format.
Take Me by the Hand
Now, this is a fast paced and high energy prog rocking number. It's packed with shifts and changes. It's very cool stuff. This really reminds me of Starcastle in a lot of ways. I love the bass work on the piece. The keyboards have some exceptional moments, too.
The Telephone
Piano and voice are the guiding factors of this short, but powerful piece.
Forever
I love this song, too. It has some great textural prog movements. The clean guitar soloing on this is awesome, too.
Hail Double Knob, Children of Mars
Intricate guitar soloing leads things out here. As it builds I'm reminded of California Guitar Trio a bit.
Again and Again

A mellower, folk meets prog kind of number, there are hints of things like The Beatles built into this piece. It's gentle, intriguing and quite pretty.

84th and Amsterdam
Very classical in nature, this piano solo also has jazz and mroe built into it.
Ascension in Time
A fast paced tune, piano and voice drive the beginning of it. That basic configuration makes up the entire piece, but this thing really does rock out a lot before it's done.
Spellbound in the Vortex
Trippy, echoey waves of sound do really feel like some kind of vortex.
Ready to Go

This is another cool prog rock jam. It's got a lot of classy instrumental work. It's one of the more "full band" kind of arrangements here. Some of the overlayers bring me references to science fiction styled music in some ways.

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