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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Intelligent Music Project VI

The Creation

Review by Gary Hill

As more and more of these projects come out, I wish I had organized the first ones differently. Each successive album from this act gets a higher number. For that reason, they wind up classified in the online version of Music Street Journal as separate artists. I suppose including them as "Intelligent Music Project" and then putting the roman numeral as part of the album title would have been the better choice. Since I made the other decision before, I need to keep doing that here, though. Hindsight certainly is 20/20.

As with the previous releases, a core operating outfit is augmented by guest performers. This time around that include John Payne, Ronnie Romero, Bobby Rondinelli, Carl Sentance and Todd Sucherman. As before, this is of the AOR variety and quite effective. I've put the previous ones under progressive rock, and I've done the same with this. That said, I toyed around with the idea of landing it under metal because a lot of it is metal. In fact, I'd consider this less prog oriented than the previous releases were.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
A Sense Of Progress
A really metal concept is all over the riff that opens this. An anthemic rocker, this reminds me quite a bit of the Scorpions. Romero handles the lead vocal on this piece.
The Story
Romero remains, but he's joined here by Rich Grisman and Payne. This is an AOR rocker. The opening section has a power ballad approach. The cut turns harder rocking from there. This is a hook laden and meaty. The keyboard break brings the prog elements to bear. The mellower section that comes from that is also proggier. This is complex and works through a number of shifts and changes as it drives forward. There is some killer neo-classical guitar soloing, too.
A Shelter
Another metallic riff brings this into being. This is very much a metallic stomper. It has some catchy hooks and rocks out well. While Payne provides the lead vocals on the mid-section of the number, Romero handles the rest of them.
Listen
A balladic cut, this has some real beauty and charm. I dig the intricate acoustic guitar, and the strings augment the arrangement well. The vocals (Romero) are some of the best of the disc. The acoustic guitar soloing on the instrumental break is magical.
Your Thoughts
Grisman and Payne are the lead singers on this song. As this seems as though it comes out of the previous piece it has some real symphonic elements. The cut gets a twist toward the metallic mid-track  for a short time as electric guitar joins. While that drops away for a time, it comes back later as the piece continues to grow and drive onward. As it continues to grow it turns more purely prog rock. There is a short neo-classical guitar solo near the outro.
Sometimes
I love the bass work on this thing. The cut is another with a healthy helping of heavy metal in the mix. This rocker is very effective. It also gets pretty involved before it's all over. Romero is the singer on this tune.
Back To The Truth
There is a real old world element to this cut. It's another balladic one. Strings add a lot of beauty. The song has some intriguing changes including world music breaks and prog tendencies. Grisman provides the lead vocals.
Let It Go
Jazz and blues merge on this tune, which features Romero on lead vocals. It has such a tasty groove to it. It turns metallic later for a nice twist.
A Sight
This screamer does a great job of combining proggy concepts with metallic. It's all delivered in an approach that's dynamic, rather accessible and very AOR oriented. Grisman, Romero and Payne all provide lead vocals on this track.
That Something
A dramatic introduction gives way to a balladic prog concept for the first vocals. An edgy, AOR metallic concept comes in for the next movement. This includes all three singers who were on the last number.
I Know
Romero is the vocalist for this track. The riff that opens this screams hard rock and heavy metal. The cut screams out with a real emphasis on that metal edge.
Serve
More of a melodic prog piece of the AOR variety, this is another classy song. It has some really symphonic things in the mix. There is a soaring kind of energy as it grows. The piece turns metallic later, and that motif holds it to the end. Grisman returns here, and he's joined by Bobby Kosatka.
 
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