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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zombie Picnic

Rise of a New Ideology

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed another set from these guys a while back and really liked it. This one is even stronger than that one. Their brand of instrumental rock includes space rock, psychedelia and even metal. This is a cool release that never feels redundant or tired. It should be mentioned that I've also reviewed a solo release from Zombie Picnic's bass player Jim Griffin in this issue. I love the fact that the CD of this is a black disc, making it look like a vinyl record. That seems fitting of this music somehow.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Democracy Cannot Survive
Ambient music starts to weave a sonic tale as sound-bites come over the top. The sounds of a storm rise up after a time. Eventually those sound bites and other effects drop away and the band begin to create a cool retro inspired prog jam from there. This moves kind of slowly and has a lot of space rock in the mix. It definitely has ties to things like Tangerine Dream. Yet there are also hints of things like the surf guitar of The Ventures. Another section of spoken sound bites is heard around the half way mark. There is a soaring guitar led movement that follows it, driving the cut ever further into powerhouse territory.
They See Science as Dangerous
A spoken sound bite starts this cut. The music powers in with a cool rocking groove that's part space rock and part fusion. More spoken elements come over the top as it presses onward. After the sound bites drop away we get some killer melodic guitar soloing. They take this into some seriously rocking territory at times. There is some shredding guitar work. The cut leans toward heavy metal at points at least in intensity. A sound bite introducing the president of the United States is heard around the three minute mark. Then the whole thing just gets intensified with fast paced powerhouse jamming ensuing. It drops back after the four minute mark to continue with a slightly mellow melodic jam. More sound bites come over the top. This thing gets some intense as it builds out later. The jamming is purely on fire. Sound bites return at the end.
DEFCON
This is perhaps more of a straightforward rocking jam. It still has some prog tendencies and shifts, though. The guitar soloing on this is really the key factor. This doesn't have as much of that space rock kind of thing. Part of that is because it doesn't rely on the sound bites like the earlier songs did.
Life-Support Systems
Some parts of this make me think The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" a bit. That's my favorite Stones song, so that's a good thing. This has a lot of psychedelic rock in the mix. It's another effective jam. There are some sound bites on this piece, lending some intriguing atmosphere. The tune has some interesting turns and twists as it works onward. It gets into some seriously hard rocking territory on the closing section.
See Beyond

Atmospherics with another sound bite lead this out of the gate. The cut has a bit mellower start than some of the rest with some cool melodic prog. There are some elements that could be compared to Pink Floyd, but don't take that to mean this sounds like Floyd - it doesn't. It gets a shift toward harder rocking stuff after a time. Some smoking hot guitar riff emerges further down the road. Again, I'm detecting hints of The Stones on that riff. Yet, this is clearly proggy jam band styled music and not Stones styled blues rock. After some pretty intense rocking, it drops back to more atmospherics with sound bites to end.

Anger in Storage (Denial Will Follow)

Screaming hot rocking stuff that borders on heavy metal drives the opening section here. It eventually drops to a mellower jam to continue with more sound bites over the top. We get more intense, almost metallic jamming on the closing section here.   

 
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