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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lightning Hunter

Beyond Beyond

Review by Gary Hill

This album definitely fits under progressive rock. This is not the prog of the 1970s, though. That said, there are some moments that fit there. This gets harder rocking than that implies, though. It also has more of an alternative rock and even new wave vibe at times. There are comparisons to be made to acts like Wolverine that started in death metal and evolved into progressive rock. Yet this act also wanders into full classical music at points. One thing you'll find that's constant about this is that it's always changing. This never feels tired or repetitive at all. It's a very strong release, really.

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Track by Track Review
The Role of the Observer
As this comes into being it seems like we might be about to head into some driving metal. Then symphonic instrumentation joins and insistent percussive element to create a cinematic sort of prog rock like musical texture. The cut drives forward in that mode. More than two minutes of the song go by without vocals. By the time the vocals do join, the cut has become heavier and rock based. The vocals are sort of down in the mix and processed, lending a bit of Gothic space rock element. There is a mellower dropped back movement later, but it gives way to a return of the mid-tempo dark proggy grind. A mellower, guitar driven section takes it at the end.
In a Dog's Dream
Symphonic strings bring this number to life. It's considerably mellower than the opener. It's also shorter. The first track is close to eight minutes of music, while this one is just two. This is a slow moving and somber sort of instrumental piece.
Giving All Things Credence
Coming in hard rock and decidedly modern prog rock like, this has some hints of metal and more in the mix. This is another fairly short cut (about two-and-a-half minutes), but it isn't instrumental only like the previous number.
Akashic Echo
Mid-tempo and moody prog is the order of business on this killer piece of music. This is one of my favorite tunes here. The vocals do bring it more into the vein of 80s or 90s post punk or new wave sounds. This gets quite heavy for a time later in the piece, making me think of acts like Wolverine. Then it drops down and some cool prog jamming emerges from there before it launches back into the song proper.
Pale Monolith
There is plenty of new wave and post punk texture built into this thing. However, the overall concept is set in a moody modern prog vein. The balance between more energized and balladic, slow moving stuff is great. The cut has some intriguing changes and some intriguing melodic passages. The vocals later in the piece have a soaring, haunting, almost banshee approach. There is some really inspired instrumental work that leans toward the shoegaze, post prog zone as it moves forward from that part. This is a highlight of the set.
Aelian Prism
This comes in mellow and textural. It works out into one of the most dynamic cuts of the whole disc. There are driving, rocking movements. There are also much mellower ones, some of which even make me think of early King Crimson a little at times.
Fields of Ancient Light
Coming in mellow, delicate and intricate, this is quite pretty as it grows. There is some killer guitar interplay and other instrumentation. It all works together to weave a mellow, but intriguing instrumental tapestry. This is pure prog by any definition.
In Atheist Fashion
Rising up with hints of space rock and more, this gradually evolves into a rocker that has alternative rock merged with proggier things. That combination holds the cut throughout. This is one of the most constant songs on the disc. It has some dreamy textures to it. It's not a standout, but it is very effective. That's a testament to how good everything here is. I love some of the intricate guitar soloing later in the piece.
Coming in mellower and rather textural, this works out to some powerfully soaring stuff from there. This cut is a dramatic and rather cinematic one. I can make out hints of things like Tool, but there are more purely proggy elements at play, too. This number is another that's very dynamic and covers a lot of territory. It has a real epic kind of vibe to it.
Beyond Beyond
The title track closes the set. It starts atmospheric with just keyboards in a tentative arrangement. Classical strings join as the cut moves forward. This remains instrumental and quite classical in tone as it begins to intensify and layers of sound are added. It never rises beyond the instrumental or classical music basis, but is potent and makes for a great closer.
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