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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

This new set has a lot of variety. There are things that are pretty crazy, and it gets downright noisy. There are parts that feel like modern melodic prog. Other things seem like they are sliced right out of 1970s progressive rock. There are also plenty of references to be made to early Pink Floyd. It all adds up to an entertaining progressive rock album that's a great ride.

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Track by Track Review
Bird sounds bring this into being and hold it for a time. Bass joins and the cut begins to build outward from there. As trippy guitar glides over the top this makes me think of a merging of early Pink Floyd with fusion. I love the particularly busy percussion on this number. The guitar really starts soaring as this builds outward. The fusion elements sort of fade out of the piece as that happens. When it gets mellower from there, though, those things come back into the mix a bit. The mellower section takes the piece to a false ending. Melodic harmonics and other things bring it back in with a mellow and intricate arrangement. That eventually gives way to a bit of a slow moving reprise of the earliest parts of the number before they end this. Even the birds come back. This instrumental is a great opener.
There are dreamy, early Pink Floyd elements built into this piece. The vocals bring their own psychedelic texture, but also a bit more of a modern prog concept. This is a melodic piece that has a lot in common with things like Porcupine Tree, RPWL and others. There is a shift into rather Beatles-like prog as it continues, and they use that zone for some definite exploration. A cool rocking groove takes over on keys after that movement. This thing powers into some serious hard rocking and driving prog rock from there.
A fast moving, chirpy kind of sound opens this thing. This gets into some seriously powered up hard rocking prog as it drives forward. It drops down and slows down as it approaches the two minute mark (at over nine minutes, this is the second longest piece here). Trippy sorts of psychedelic textures rise up gradually from there as it continues. The sounds of children are heard as the music becomes more textural. The music drops away as the crowd of kids continues. Then it starts to rise back up with a meaner, harder rocking texture. Guitar driven prog becomes the order of business after the voices drop away. Vocals come over the top, lending an almost 80s texture, as this continues. The cut peaks a bit before the six-and-a-half-minute mark and some weird ambience takes over from there. Then the intensity ramps up, and the piece gets almost unsettling in its strangeness. Some weird vocals that seem backtracked are in the mix along with a driving kind of musical oddity. Eventually it gives way to an echoey, noisy texture from there.
Keyboards rise up in an echoey pattern to bring this to life. Other instruments join as it drives forward. Vocals come in over the one-minute mark, bringing a cool modern prog texture with them. This only has one line of lyrics that gets repeated, but it works. The music turns toward driving melodic prog. It drops way down around the three-minute mark and the cut gets rebuilt around spacey elements. It ends before really soaring again.
Classical strings drive this short (1:16) piece. In fact, that is the only thing at play here.    
Suite II: Lucid Dreaming
The epic of the set, this is over 17 minutes long. Mellow, echoey guitar textures bring this into being. The cut quickly fires out into hard rocking prog that has some definite fusion in the mix. It works through along that line for about a minute. Then things drop way down for a mellow, keyboard led section. From there the rhythm section rises up, threatening to lead things into a hard rocking movement. There is a spoken voice sound-bite that's heard as this builds upward, gaining intensity. They launch out into a killer prog jam from there. After that section ends drums take over for a bit. Eventually they work out into a fast paced, riff driven jam that is so tasty. It makes me think of modern King Crimson in some ways. It works through a number of shifts along the road. There is a more melodic prog movement that emerges further down the road. Non-lyrical vocals glide over the top of that. Eventually there is another transformation into mellower weirdness. A driving jam takes over, at first on the bass, from there. There is some pretty crazed guitar soloing that emerges as this continues. An almost metallic jam takes over as this continues. They run along that road for a time, but then seem to slow down the tape from there, eventually stopping it altogether. Then a child's voice comes in for a moment and gets echoed over and over. White noise takes control after that.
Suite III: Forgotten
Organ brings this into being. They launch out into a real 1970s styled prog jam from there. The cut works to sort of a folk prog meets early Floyd vibe for the entrance of the vocals. Things make their way to another old-school prog jam after that vocal movement. After that builds, it crescendos. A bouncy kind of keyboard led psychedelic sound serves as the backdrop for the next vocals. Again, early Pink Floyd is a valid reference point. They stay in that general zone for the rest of the tune, closing out the disc in fine fashion.
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