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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Slow Burning Car


Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed another set from this act and landed it under progressive rock. I said that one wasn't a tight fit. The same is definitely true of this set, too. If it were split in the middle and made into two albums, the first one wouldn't land there, but the second would. The thing is, though, even that first one has some proggy moments. There is a lot of punk rock and even some metal edges along with mainstream rock here. The thing is, there is also enough prog and things like shoegaze to fit it on the progressive rock end of the spectrum. Whatever you call this, though, it's an unusual, unique and entertaining set.

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Track by Track Review
Public Cynic
This begins with the sounds of a crowd that serve as the backdrop for a politician speaking. Some serious punk rock jamming emerges from there. An acoustic based movement rises up as a companion to that. It takes control as the opening sounds return over the top. The cut drives out from there to some fierce punk rock jamming. Those various elements are the main things on display here, as they all come back at times. A bridge later takes into a decidedly prog-metal like zone for a short guitar solo. We get more furious punk added to the mix after that.
Lad-ish Man
Another fast paced and furious punk rock jam brings this cut into being. The number has some intriguing twists and turns as it works forward. I like the vocal arrangement quite a bit, and some of the over layers of sound bring some proggish tendencies. Yet, this is full on punk, but tempered with a bit of an early metal edge. There is a cool bridge with creepy whispered vocals.
Diamond in the Rough
Less punk and more mainstream hard rock, this is a catchy and fun tune. I like this tune and the change it represents.
While this is punkier than the last one, it's still on the pop rock end of the spectrum. Although the vocals don't sound like it, the song itself makes me think of something Alice Cooper might do in one of his more straight rock and roll phases.
Memoirs of a Gentleman Ghost
This might be the highlight of the disc. It has a driving punk rock intensity and grind. There is a spoken, almost theatrical section that serves as the counterpoint to sung vocals. The whole tone and mood of this is classy, and the song rocks like crazy. It's a ghost story, too.
The Quantum Mariner
Now, this one does have some prog and art rock tendencies at play. Yet the driving, punk styled sounds dominate. The instrumental movement is on fire and really reaches into proggy zones. There is a bit of a space rock edge to the whole thing, too.
Seems So Nice
The acoustic guitar on this has hints of progressive rock. In fact, I'm reminded of something Steve Howe might have done with Yes in the 70s. The vocals on this power ballad land more along the lines of Tom Petty. This is another song that does reach toward progressive rock zones. That's particularly true as it turns much more rocking later.
Gardens in Space
Now, this thing is full-on progressive rock. There is a dreamy, trippy space rock groove to this melodic piece. It has a lot of psychedelia built into it. The section where it drifts into pure space is magical and so prog-based.
We're back into progressive rock territory with the intricate acoustic guitar at the heart of this piece. The vocal arrangement gets quite rich as the song continues to evolve. This piece is powerful and intense, but remains on the mellower and proggier side. The vocals are not in English, but I'm not sure what language they are in.
Transfer Terminal Twelve
This instrumental is full on progressive rock with space and shoegaze elements in the mix. It comes in mellower and builds outward very slowly and gradually with a mode that seems related to some of the electronic music of the 70s. It eventually gets into more powered up, driving music that lands it more in the zone of shoegaze. The sounds of some ray gun fire ripping across is heard for a while.
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