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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Heaven & Earth

Hard to Kill

Review by Gary Hill

Let's get the classification question out of the way right at the start here. While there a few songs that have some definite prog rock elements, if this were in a vacuum, I wouldn't include it under the progressive rock heading. Since Larry Toering landed the earlier discs from these guys there, though, I'm sticking with his judgment that this is a prog rock act.

Make no mistake, though, progressive rock or not, these guys are potent. Everyone in the band seems to bring a lot of passion and style. Their brand of hard rock is classic and timeless. This is a great band that. Not only does this include the CD, but there is a DVD with in-studio videos for all the songs. That's cool enough, but really just icing on the cake.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hard to Kill
Powering in like you walked in on an ongoing song, this shifts out after a time to something that has a proggy kind of Deep Purple meets Dream Theater kind of vibe. Comparisons to Rainbow would be warranted, too. The vocals come over bringing a real stadium rock kind of vibe to it. This is a powerhouse that works really well. The keyboard solo section later in the track really brings the prog elements home to roost.
Walk Away
This one feels quite metallic. It is a hard edged rocker that again makes me think of Rainbow a bit. I love the melodic guitar solo later in the track. It almost sounds like Ritchie Blackmore to some degree. This is definitely a powerhouse cut. If the whole disc were this, it probably wouldn't land under prog rock. That said, again the keyboard soloing brings that angle to it.
Till It's Over
Another hard rocking tune, this is less metallic than the previous one. There is still plenty of that Rainbow edge to it, though. I dig the guitar solo segment a lot.
Bleed Me Dry
Here we get a ballad. This has a lot of that classic hard rock sound.
The Game Has Changed
The bass starts this cut. It works out from there into another smoking hot hard rocker. I'm again reminded of Rainbow - particularly the Dio era of that band - quite a bit. It drops back on the verse to a less powered up sound. This has a nice balance between rocking and mellower stuff. It gets into some really soaring territory. The instrumental section includes some cool blues rocking jamming with different instruments getting short blasts of spotlight. The harmonica lends something special to this.
Anthem
Another bluesy rocking jam, this is almost heavy metal. It really screams.
Monster
Percussion and keyboards open this, bringing some prog rock elements with them. The guitar rises up with a meaty hard rocking vibe. There is a real metal edge to this in a lot of ways.
L.A. Blues
This quite literally is a hard rocking blues number. It's a classy tune. It's another that makes me think of Rainbow to some degree. It really rocks.
Hellfire
Another killer hard rocker, this combines a metal edge with a blues rock basis and some proggy elements on the instrumental work. This is a real screamer.
Beautiful Monsters
Based on a cool guitar riff, this hard rocker is another powerhouse. It's also another piece that makes me think of Rainbow.
Bad Man
A slow, bluesy stomper, this is a classy cut. I love the guitar solo section on this. It's so meaty. The keyboard soloing near the end of the piece brings some progressive rock elements to it. I dig the mellow section that comes in at the end of that. A quick burst of sound closes the album.
 
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