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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

FS3

Cats 'N' Strats

Review by Gary Hill

This group is more or less a power trio led by guitarist Joe Doblhofer, who wrote all the compositions here. While the type of music they play has ties to traditional power trios via the hard rocking guitar sound, this is much of a fusion release. It's instrumental, and it's so strong. I really love this set, and if you dig adventurous guitar-based fusion, you probably will, too. I should note that it lands under progressive rock because we pretty much always put fusion there at Music Street Journal.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Necessary Evil
A bluesy guitar soloing brings this tune into being and holds it for a time. The cut first out from there to a fast-paced fusion jam that's on fire. There is some killer bass work further down the road on this thing. This works through quite a few twists and turns, at one point moving toward a bluesy rocking sound with some scorching hot technical guitar soloing. More pure fusion comes back further down the road to eventually tend the piece.
Hustle & Slo
Packed full of killer twists and turns, this is a fusion meets guitar prog instrumental packed full of class and some scorching hot guitar work. There are tons of cool twists and turns.
Soldersniffer Blues
More guitar fusion music is on the table here. This is another smoking hot number. While a lot of this album reminds me of Dixie Dregs, I think that reference is even more valid here.
Loony & Blue
Not a big change, instead this is another powerhouse fusion-styled, guitar-dominated romp. It has some killer twists and turns along the road. Of course, the guitar work is exceptional, but pay attention to the bass on this one, too. There is some particularly incendiary guitar playing on this number, though.
(Ballad Of The) Blue Genes
Coming in percussive, there seems to be a bit of an understated modern King Crimson vibe to this as it works outward. The bass gets a cool solo along the road. There is, of course, more amazing guitar work on this thing, too.
Tech Republic
I dig the bass and guitar interplay as this smoking hot fusion number gets underway. That bass is on fire and there is some funk later along the road. It drifts into some weird spacey zones for a while. There is more impressive guitar work on this thing, too.
Black Sheep Waltz
There is a bass break in the middle of this song that is so tasty it's ridiculous. Of course, we get lots of killer guitar work and just some amazing fusion.
LN (feat. Jan Zehrfeld)
The qualify of music on this album is so high that when you listen to some killer fusion like this it just sort of blends in because that's what fills the whole album. In other words, this isn't a big change, but it's very effective. The slower, dropped down movement is a nice touch, too. There is a short unaccompanied drum solo that gives way to a rhythm section showcase that's all class.
Lost In The Shuffle
There is a classy blues rock meets fusion groove on this thing. There is section later that has concurrent bass and guitar jamming that is so classy. This track has fiery sections and mellower ones, too.
Ragdoll Boogie
The balance between fiery sections and mellower ones is so great on this tune. The bass work is also on fire at times. This is another powerhouse fusion jam, but what else do you expect by this point?
 
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