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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dr. Space

Dr. Space's Cosmic Alliances: Volume One - Deep Space Day Trip

Review by Gary Hill

Dr. Space is otherwise known as Scott Heller, and he's the main guy behind Øresund Space Collective. He's always been involved in other projects, too. This new CD (and yes, it's only available in CD format - as a physical media guy, I find that to be great) gathers up a number of songs from other artists to which he's contributed. If it weren't for the fact that I consider him to be a prog artist, I might have landed this under heavy metal because quite a bit of it fits. This is such a strong album no matter what you call it.

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
Agusa–Uti Vår Hage

I love the mellow space magic that opens this track. There is a cool melody and great retro prog texture to it. A more rock based jam threatens to take over after a time. This works into a powerhouse space jam that has plenty of retro stylings built into it. The song is one of the epic length numbers, running over 11 minutes. I really love some of the guitar sounds on this, but Dr. Space's synthesizer never fails to thrill. There is a dropped back movement around the half-way mark. Then a new section enters which has a real driving, almost metallic concept to it. That movement builds, getting so intense, before it shifts out to a new fast-paced retro prog jam. Space keyboards take over for a while, but the track eventually makes its way back to a more pure prog rock jam from there.

Automaton – Trapped Under Ice

Even longer than the opener, this piece is over 12-and-a-half minutes long. Spacey elements bring this into being. There is a sound that actually does feel like a pounding sound one might make if trapped under ice. That concept begins to build and evolve into more of a full musical approach from there. This turns incredibly heavy as it continues. I'd consider this to be extreme metal, right down to the vocals. This thing is crazed and as hard rocking and heavy as it gets, Dr. Space's keys still manage to hold over the top of the arrangement. Space rock and driving metal really do merge on this thing. It's a great combination and a unique and powerful piece of music.

Bismut – Storborg

Killer and rather chaotic space rock jamming starts this live tune. The cut pounds out from there with some elements of shoegaze emerging. There are definitely hints of heavy metal on this screamer, too. This is a real powerhouse number.

Johan and Scott – Rebirth Of The Earth
This is another that is decidedly metallic. A seriously hard-edged guitar brings that point home right from there start. This is stoner metal with some killer space synthesizer over the top. I dig the vocals on this cut. They have a great echoey nature.
Måneskjold – Skov (Dr Space Mix Nov 2016)
More decidedly space rock based, this has some classy melodic concepts. It has a good rocking energy, too, though. The cut eventually works out to more of a stoner rock jam for the entrance of the vocals. It is another powerhouse that leans toward heavy metal.
Phased – Maelstrom
There is definitely a hard rocking edge to this killer space rock tune. While it leans toward metal, this is just a little short of going that far in the early sections. It has a lot of energy and really drives outward like crazy, though. The vocals have a real hardcore punk vibe to them, and the cut does have a stoner metal approach for that part of the song. The cut turns toward even more powerful metal further down the road. I'm reminded of things like Sleep in a lot of ways as the extended instrumental section drives outward.
West, Space and Love – Oscar Curry

Another live track, there is a killer hard rocking vibe as this comes out of the gate. Mean and metallic, this is a scorching hot piece.

White Hills – Robot Stomp
Keyboards dominate the early parts of this cut. There is an electronic kind of vibe as this gets going that's not far removed from some of the electronic music of the 1970s. Sitar rises up further down the road to bring psychedelia to bear. The number works forward with that psychedelic space rock vibe at its heart. This isn't all that dynamic, but it has such a great flavor that it doesn't matter. This cut is almost 11-and-a-half-minutes long.
Yuri Gagarin – At The Center Of The Universe
Pure hard-edged and driving space rock is at the core of this killer tune. This is a real instrumental powerhouse that leans toward metal.
 
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