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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Michael Hersey

The Reincarnation of a Rock

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual album. It's decidedly progressive rock based. It's a series of shorter pieces, with both instrumental and vocal numbers. There are recurring themes, but there is also a wide range of sounds and  concepts. This is often slightly off-kilter (in a good way), twisted just a bit off from mainstream. It's generally very effective, too.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Samsara
Dramatic rocking prog opens this cut. It carries forward from there with a bit of a fusion angle at play. This is a powerhouse instrumental.
A Rock
While this is quite proggy in nature, the main concepts are piano and voice. It has some great shifts and a lot of intriguing melodic choices.
I Have No Head
I dig the whole lilting texture of this piece. It's packed full of drama. It also has a bit of a darkness and hints of a metallic edge. This almost feels "dangerous."
A Rock Reprise
As you might guess, this short instrumental piece features melodic elements of "The Rock," but the instrumentation feels like tuned percussion.
I'm a Rat
The keyboard sounds that start this call to mind ELP. The cut works out from there to some edgy and intense prog jamming. This earns a parental advisory for the lyrics.
Lil' Eucalyptus Grove
Quirky, bouncy and run, this is still very proggy. There are definite jazzy elements. I can make out some hints of Beatles-like pop rock.
A Soul in Transition
I love the guitar work on this killer tune. This instrumental has some great classic prog textures.
Sacred Cow
Classical styled piano brings this into being. It's quite a cool piece of music.
Swingin'
This fast paced progger is a lot of fun. It has some soaring moments and a decent amount of jazz in it.
Rebirth
I dig this melodic prog instrumental. It's a great tune.
Only a Man, Pt. 1
Starting with an acapella declaration, this fires out into furious progressive rock jamming. This thing is dramatic and powerful. It earns a bit of a parental advisory.
Only a Man, Pt. 2
This second piece is more of a melodic one. This is a classy resolution to the two-fer.
Nirvana, Pt. 1
This is a brief and pretty keyboard-based instrumental.
Nirvana, Pt. 2
Powering in as more of a pure prog rocker, this is classy stuff.
The Waltz of Time
This instrumental is literally a playful waltz.
Samsara Slight Return
The closer for the album proper, this is a dramatic prog rocker with hints of world music.
Bonus Tracks
              
Lil' Orphan Endorphin

Bouncy and playful, this is another classy progger.

Another Lost Star
More of a rocker, this has a dramatic prog sound to it. It's a mid-tempo quirky piece.
I Have a Halo
I dig the rock groove of this. It has a bit of a Beatles style to it. It's a fun tune. While it's not the proggiest thing here, this definitely qualifies as progressive rock.
 
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