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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chris DeMarco

Genetic Marker

Review by Gary Hill

This disc has a lot of strong music. There are a couple mis-steps, too. Personally, I think it's a case where less would have been more. If the opening tune were left off, along with a couple of the others near the end, this would be a much better album. That said, it's still pretty darned good. There are some moments of sheer brilliance here.
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Track by Track Review
That's the Chance

The song here is built around a great classic rock sound. The tune is quite effective. That said, some of the vocals are a bit rough around the edges, making it miss just a bit.

Cherry Boy
There are a couple sections here that are downright proggy. The bulk of the tune, though, is a hard rocking, more straightforward arrangement. The vocals work much better here. All those things combine to make this one a really strong piece of music.
Nowhere to Go
I dig the classy slide guitar on this. The cut makes me think of a cross between Dire Straits and Eric Clapton in a lot of ways. There is a real bluesy rock sound here. This is another standout tune.
Tightrope Dancer
A mellower cut, this has a lot of jazz and a lot of prog in the mix. I love it.
Til the River Runs Dry
Another mellower cut, this one has a really classic sound to it. It's one of the highlights of the set.
Annabel Lee
Based on the work of Poe, I love this song. It's probably the best tune here. The addition of the female vocals adds a lot of magic here. The cut is basically a slow moving prog rock piece. This is just so cool.
The Burden of a Man
There is a definite reggae edge to this cut. It has some Americana built into it, too. It's not a bad song, but it really doesn't stand up all that tall compared to the bulk of the rest of the album.
Walk in the Sun
Playful and high energy, this is a cool pop rocker. It's fun.
Double Trouble Love
This is a cool mainstream rocker. I dig the guitar work on it quite a bit. It's not a real high energy cut, but it's not really mellow, either.
A View from the Precipice
A rather proggy ballad, this one is good, but not exceptional.
Waltzing in a World Without Love
This is better than the previous tune. It's a bit lackluster and predictable, though. The spoken movement is pretty bad. The message is a bit irresponsible, though. Sure, the song is about people without love in their hearts. However, this spoken section singles out one group - certain Muslims. By doing that, it tends to set itself up with the potential to be used as a hate mantra for those who have been looking to demonize all Muslims. I'm sure it's not DeMarco's intent, but to set a section like this aside and only use one group of people (and not make it clear that he's not talking about all Muslims, but only some) seems irresponsible. It leaves the song open to be taken as grounds for hate, not love, making the song very unsuccessful. Honestly, it should be re-written because it's a failure as a song because of that section. Short of that, it should have been left off the disc. That might sound harsh, but Muslims in general are one of that most maligned groups in the world today. It is down-right irresponsible to release something that has the potential to be taken as a rallying cry for those who hate that group. It might be easy to say, "it's just the lyrics, ignore them." The fact is, though, if the message isn't important, why even have lyrics? I'm reasonably sure that DeMarco's motives were pure on this, he just did a fairly lousy job of creating a song to convey the message he wanted, thereby building something that could convey the opposite idea.
Let Him Be the King
This is a powerhouse rocker. It's one of the best tunes here. It's appropriate that it's the closer. It really rocks with hints of prog rock, Alice Cooper's band days, Queen and more. There is a soulful little bit on the outro.
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