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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

At first I thought about landing this under heavy metal. That's because I just listened to a few parts of a few songs. Some of this definitely does fit under heavy metal. This is too experimental and even a bit strange for that heading, though. Overall, I can see it fitting nowhere better than under progressive rock.That said, the band do consider themselves metal, but I think I have to run counter to their own label here. This is the kind of thing that changes styles pretty completely throughout the album, and even within songs. There is classical music, pure prog, jazz, space and even hoe-down here. Yes, there is also a lot of metal, some of it of the extreme variety. This is creative, unusual and intriguing.

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Track by Track Review
Ut Queant Laxis
Gregorian chant brings the set into being. That eventually gives way to intricate classical guitar work. The cut turns toward progressive rock zones from there, but still remains on the mellow end of the spectrum. It gets pretty involved in an instrumental way and some noisier guitar rises up near the end.
Notes from the Underground
Coming out of the previous track, this feels like progressive rock as it opens. Then the serious metallic crunch joins. As the number continues to evolve, though, there are definite prog angles at play. There is some neo-classical stuff in the mix, too. The vocals bring it more into extreme metal zones. That said, this is packed full of unusual twists and turns. It has so much progressive rock in the mix. It's tempered with metal, though. There are female vocals, more chorale styled singing and some seriously impressive guitar sections here. The mix of sounds here is impressive and a bit crazed, and the cut turns rather crazed at points, too.
Dorian Gray
Jazzy piano starts this. The cut shifts to a hard-edged prog meets metal arrangement. Extreme metal vocals come over the top. This keeps shifting and changing. There are weird show-tune type things at play at times. The whole thing just screams with ferocity and technical prowess. It's experimental, strange and impressive. Don't get comfortable here because this just keeps twisting and turning, often at strange angles.
Reflections, Pt.2
Screaming hot metal is merged with prog changes as this kicks off. This number is every bit as dynamic as the last cut, but it's perhaps a bit less strange. Some female vocals bring an almost soulful element to the later portion of the cut.
This comes in with a rather bluesy movement. This works out from there to proggy metallic zones. There are some seriously extreme metal vocals on this at times, but also more melodic ones. The cut features both male and female singing. It has a real symphonic, epic metal vibe to it in some ways, but twisted in a real prog way. The tune works out to a real hoedown before turning quite classical during the instrumental section. Then fierce metal powers it back out. The cut works to more symphonic prog styled music for some powerful music. Not only do they name check themselves during this song, but they also shout out to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. More classically inspired sounds take over with some real chorale vocals over the top.
Óró (‘sé do bheatha ‘bhaile)
Seeming to come out of the previous piece, this is seriously classically based. It has a number of changes, but the classical music is combined quite well with prog rock tendencies and more.
In a big contrast, this fires in with fierce metal. It's a real powerhouse that leans toward the extreme. This is probably the most definitively heavy metal tune on offer here. It has some real technical instrumental work, but it also screams out like crazy. There is a drop back to jazzy space music on the number, though. It does turn more metallic again near the end.
Speaking of jazz, a full jazz treatment brings this cut in and holds it from there. While the jazz elements remain in play, this takes on more of a fusion or melodic prog concept as it continues. It's not far removed from the kind of thing Pat Metheny or Jean-Luc Ponty would do. There is no metal in this instrumental tune at all.
(Global Warming)
Another that presents a stark contrast, this is furious metal. It's heavy, frantic and dark. It's another that's just about pure metal. There are some intense shifts and turns and bouts of jamming.(Note: The actual title of this song is in a non-standard alphabet. The web version of Music Street Journal converted it to question marks, so I have just used the parenthetical by itself. The title is represented correctly in the print edition.)
Infinito – Prologo
Up-tempo prog brings this into being. The cut works out with some parts that lean toward hoedown music, but with a metal edge. This is a real powerhouse tune during this opening movement. It drops back a little in terms of volume, but retains some of the intensity. Echoey Americana seems to merge with classical music before a smoking hot guitar solo takes over from there. The instrumental piece continues to evolve with different sections rising up. It drop to a piano dominated movement before powering out into synthesizer dominated jamming. The changes continue from there, though. A guitar takes over as this segues into the next piece.
Infinito – Epilogo
Coming out of the previous one, some strange vocals emerge over the top as this gets going. The track is on the stranger end of the spectrum. It has metal, hip hop and Rock in Opposition type sounds all over the top. The lyrics to this are not in English. This has some cool rocking grooves at times. It works to more operatic sounds at points. This is another that's very dynamic and crazed. There is a lot of classical music in the mix at points. We get some Spanish guitar at times, too. It twists toward fusion here and there, as well.
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