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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tone Masseve

Amp L’├ętude

Review by Gary Hill

Perhaps this doesn't precisely fall under progressive rock. It's essentially electric guitar led arrangements of classical music pieces. If that's not progressive, I don't know what is. This is a powerful set with some truly magical tracks. Nothing here is weak, but some just really stand taller than others. If you like guitar music, and particularly classically based guitar music, you need to check this out for yourself. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Track by Track Review
Aire on a G String (A Whiter Shade)
Drums bring this in, but the guitar and other instruments quickly join. The guitar really leads this. The arrangement has a blues rock edge, but then again, so does Procol Harum's take on it in some ways.
The Moonlight Sonata (On the Hill of the Skull)
I've always loved this Beethoven composition. This guitar led arrangement is such a classy way to do it. It brings a new flavor to the piece. This is so powerful.
A shorter piece, this doesn't lose out on any of the drama or majesty. It's actually particularly poignant.
Serenade for Strings (For Her Majesty)
A bit more of on the playful side, this is another exceptional piece of guitar magic.
The Swan (In Wind on Water)
Although still thoroughly based on classical music, this is far from technicality over substance. It's packed with passion.
Maria, (She's So) Ave
There are some vocals built into this. The cut has a lot of blues rock at its heart, and merges a couple pieces (which you should be able to glean from the title).
Prelude #4 (To the Grave)
I love the classical tones of this. There are non-lyrical vocals on this that lend an intriguing edge to the piece. This is quite an effective number.
Prelude #6 (It Tolls for Thee)
Beautiful and powerful classical tones are on display here. The chiming textures are a nice touch, but the soloing really sells it.
7# Edulerp
About a minute long, the classical elements here are merged with some guitar that is either heavily effect driven or partly backwards tracked. Either way, it sounds a lot like Queen to me.
Prelude #20 (The Last March)
I love the classical piece at the heart of this. They turn in more of a full rock band based treatment of this. It's a highlight of the set.
The Sunken Cathedral, (Turns the Tide Gently, Gently Away)
There are some trippy kinds of elements at the start of this thing. This turns out to some of the most profoundly progressive rock based stuff. There are elements here that make me think of Queen at times. Other parts lean heavily toward symphonic prog. It drops to something pretty spacey after the half way mark. At over six minutes of music, this is the longest track here. It's also the most dynamic and adventurous. It gets quite bombastic later in the track.
O Fortuna
With chorale vocals, this is a piece that's also called "Carmina Burana." It's another favorite of mine. It's such a powerful number. There is a decidedly dark and mysterious texture to the piece, and this performance captures that well. It makes for a dramatic closing to the set.
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