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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dr. Gonzo & The Cheesy Boys

The Witch

Review by Gary Hill

While this is not necessarily progressive rock in the classic sense, it definitely fits. It's an instrumental set with two epic (the shortest of which is almost 14 minutes long) pieces. It could be called "stoner rock," and clearly has a lot in common with that style. I tend to think of that sound as more typified by a Black Sabbath-like heavy metal sound, though. This is clearly not that type of thing. There is a lot of psychedelia built into this thing. It has plenty of space rock, too. Whatever you call this, though, it's an ever-changing sound that really works well. While it's based on retro sounds, this is somehow modern and fresh.

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Track by Track Review
The Witch, Pt. 1
Trippy keyboard sounds lead this out and the piece begins building from there with some cool synthesizer textures. After the one minute mark it powers out into some more rocking stuff. The keyboards are still a big part of the sound, and this has a lot of psychedelia built into it. About a minute later guitar takes a bigger part in the musical structure with a bit of a blues rock grind becoming the central element. Still, keyboards dance all over that backdrop. The cut works through some changes, leaning in the direction of stoner rock or heavy metal in some ways. The cut seems to keep evolving, working through a number of changes and movements. Later in the piece it shifts out into something a bit like Deep Purple for a time before working forward from there in fine fashion. Eventually it works to something a bit closer to a krautrock prog sort of arrangement. A bit of psychedelia gives way a space keys bit that ends this number.
The Witch, Pt. 2

Rising up slowly with a cool space rock styled jam, this gradually gets more involved and powerful. As it approaches the one minute mark some stoner rock styled guitar merges with Hawkwind like keyboards. The cut works out from there into a faster paced jam that's definitely a like a proggier heavy metal. Still, bit of psychedelia and other things come into the mix as this works forward in fine style. There is a false ending just before the three minute mark. It comes back in with a cool keyboard led bit of psychedelia. A number of changes ensue. After the five minute mark there is a smoking hot jam mode that takes over grinding things onward. There are some musical nods to King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" here, but this is more of a stoner rock take on that kind of sound. Besides, those nods are slight. They take it out into some smoking hot jamming from there as the cut continues to grind forward. By around the nine minute mark it drops back to a keyboard based section. It works gradually forward from there with other elements joining. I really dig the cool jam that ensues around the 11 minute mark. It has great guitar and keyboards. I love the smoking guitar riff that comes in about a minute later. They take this into some seriously hard rocking territory from there. There is more of a pure prog rock jam (with hints of "West Side Story") that takes over around the thirteen minute mark. There is a mellow bit of piano work at the end to close things.

 
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