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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Marcelo Paganini

Identity Crisis

Review by Gary Hill

The latest album from multi-instrumentalist Marcelo Paganini, this is a powerhouse progressive rock album. It does a great job of merging more edgy, experimental prog with sounds that are more mainstream. There are fusion and even some pure jazz things that show up at times. This is an exceptionally strong album from start to finish. The vocals on the album are handled by Billy Sherwood. He's one of several musicians included here, with another particularly notable name to be found in Chad Wackerman, who provides drums on several tunes.

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
Bacteria
Vocals show up right at the start of this. The opening movement has a rather dramatic and experimental concept and texture. There is an instrumental movement that takes things in intriguing prog directions. As the vocals return, the backdrop is closer to that motif. This has different lines coming from various angles as it moves and evolves. There is a piano solo in the midst of the next instrumental movement that really gets pretty crazed. Then fiery guitar and after a time synthesizer join as this drives forward. This thing gets so powerful as it continues to work through various movements, some with vocals, most without.
Circus Is Empty
The instrumental section that opens this is so cool and potent. While the arrangement gets  a little less dense for the entrance of the vocals, the percussion keeps pounding away. The number takes on some really expansive and exploratory directions from there. I'm reminded to some degree of the self-titled album from the band UK on this.
Soul Much Further Away
There is a bit more of a mainstream rock approach to this. It even has a little bit of a groove. The female backing vocal brings a little soul with it. I can definitely make out a lot of fusion on this tune. The guitar solo is a killer, and I dig the keyboard work, too.
Learn to Love to Wait
Another that's a bit more mainstream in nature, I'm reminded a bit of something Sherwood might do in his solo work on some of this. Then again, Sherwood does provide not only the vocals for this one, but also the bass. The cut does twist toward more of that more freeform UK territory, though. This has plenty of fusion in the mix along with the more general prog concepts. There is a cool instrumental movement with exploratory fusion guitar soloing at its heart. The later parts of the song really have a lot of fusion in the mix.
Tangerine Way
This comes in with a mellower kind of sound. In a lot of ways, this is a fusion ballad type number. This evolves gradually and organically. It has a cool hard rocking guitar solo, and the whole concept is quite effective.
Captain's Face
This cut really has a lot of changes and styles built into it. At times it wanders through some purely jazz based zones. Other points are more mainstream progressive rock, while there is plenty of experimental prog. There is some killer guitar soloing near the end.
 
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