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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

A Death Cinematic

Cagliostro

Review by Gary Hill

This is a bizarre, and particularly cool album. It's clearly a unique experience. I've landed this under progressive rock because it is progressive music, but it's not rock music, really. This is dark and slowly evolving music. It's cinematic and often a bit noisy. It's also so cool. Since the change is so slow and incremental, it doesn't translate that well to single track detailed review, but that's what I've done here since all our reviews are that way. This is perhaps the kind of thing you would better to just sit back and let take you somewhere, rather than paying close analytical attention to it. I should mention that this limited-edition numbered CD is so cool in terms of packaging, too. It is a very classy release, and well worth having. That packaging is as unique as the music it contains - and that says a lot. I mean, how many CDs do you have with wooden trays?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
a lamentation of a dying angel in the canyons of black defeat
This comes in sedate and grows very gradually. There is a real space type vibe in the slow evolution of the sound. Clean guitar textures are a driving factor in the early sections of this. The number is quite cool, but doesn't change quickly. It's just an intriguingly dark, yet rather mellow, ride. It definitely doesn't feel like it's more than eight-and-a-half minutes. That's a real tribute to the quality of sound painting here.
to those creatures of benevolence beset with incurable sorrows
Dark and rather freaky electronics open this. It feels very alien and mechanical in a lot of ways. A rather insistent building process joins after a time, bringing a strange rock element that's covered in noisy sound. This piece continues in a very unsettling, but not extremely loud way.  Around the nine-and-a-half minute mark it works to an electronic hum, seeming to indicate high voltage power pumping through some kind of transformer. That sound holds the piece to its closing a couple minutes later.
amidst the most holy threefold wisdom
Weird atmospherics a bit like some kind of freaky found sound that you might hear in a horror movie starts this and holds it as it moves outward. At thirteen-and-a-half minutes, this is the longest piece on the disc. This starts to work into something that has both a symphonic element and a texture that reminds me of some of the strangest movements of early Hawkwind. This gets noisier and denser as it continues to evolve. It shifts gradually toward mellower stuff as it begins to approach the ending. It's dark and a bit psychedelic as it does so. An electronic hum again ends this number.
on the nature of the absolute in the monoliths
This seems to bring back the hum that ended the last piece as the opening of this one. Eventually other elements rise up with unsettling creepiness. The piece grows in some interesting ways. After a time some guitar rises up bringing the most rock music like thing of the whole set. That really takes control of the number as it works forward, making it the most "song like" thing here. There is a dark sadness to it. Echoey, trippy folk rock is at the heart of much of this.
of their grandest features upon rapture and despair
More trippy, slowly evolving sound is on the menu here. This is suitably dark and nicely weird in its makeup. I love the way it shifts and grows ever so gradually. It's a bit more rocking oriented than some of this. The echoey, noisy textures are intriguing, yet there is almost a classical element to this in some ways in terms of the slow moving progression. It gets quite a bit noisier and more rocking as it gets into the later stages of the piece.
 
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