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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Chuck Wright's Sheltering Sky

Chuck Wright's Sheltering Sky

Review by Gary Hill

Chuck Wright is a bass player. Since this is his project, you can expect some great bass work. That's a given, and one that's fully realized. Beyond that, though, this is a great hard rocking album. I've included it under progressive rock because there are some prog elements on a lot of songs and a few really land pretty firmly under that heading. The appearance of Derek Sherinian on a couple songs also contributed to that decision.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
The Weight Of Silence
Coming in heavy and hard-edged, but also a little mysterious, this shifts to a more melodic sound to move forward. Some melodic guitar soloing comes over the top. This feels a bit like Queensryche to me, but with a proggier, almost fusion, edge to it. This instrumental is such a classy way to start the set. Derek Sherinian provides keyboards on this song.
Army Of Me
There is an anthemic metal edge to this, but it also has some proggy things at play. The female vocals (Whitney Tai) are purely brilliant. They work between an almost whispered magic to rocking at various points on the number. There is some killer jamming later in the number.
The Other Side
Melodic guitar that lands along the acoustic side of the spectrum get this under going. As the vocals (August Young)  join it feels a little like The Beatles This is more of a straight forward melodic rock tune.
Throwin’ Stones
Keyboards sounds bring this in. From there the rhythm section takes over. This thing is seriously funky and so cool. It's not really proggy, but it really rocks. The guitar soloing on this is fierce.
Giving Up The Ghost
This comes in acoustic and ballad-like. Tai is back providing vocals and some magic with them. This is more of a pop rock tune with some solid hooks a lot of style. There is some cool bass work on this.
Time Wait’s For No One
There is a real fusion sort of vibe to this piece. Tai's vocals get particularly soaring on this thing. While this of the AOR variety, I'd say it definitely fits under the prog heading.
It Never Fails
Imagine merging Dream Theater with Living Colour, and you will probably land somewhere near this. It's rocking, funky and so cool. Jeff Scott Soto's vocals on this are so powerful.
Darkness Darkness
A dramatic arrangement with some definite Celtic stuff at play, this feels like a folk prog piece in a lot of ways. David Victor's vocals bring a more hard rock edge to it. The cut does have some anthemic hooks, too. This explodes out later into a powerhouse instrumental break that is decidedly progressive rock based. That section ends the song. 
Cradle Of The Sun (Lorelei)
There is some serious country styling as this gets underway. The cut is more of a mainstream tune. This features a duet between the returning Young and Shelly Bonet.
Farewell Horizon
There is a decidedly fusion nature to this cut. It's very classy stuff with some great instrumental work. This instrumental might be my favorite thing on the album. It just oozes style and class.
The Weight Of Silence (Reprise)
As you might imagine this instrumental continues the themes of the opener, serving as a great bookend to the disc. As that suggests, Sherinian is back here. This time, though, in addition to keyboards he plays theremin. I think I prefer this track to the first one. That theremin might contribute to that as I'm a sucker for that instrument. I'd also consider this another highlight of the CD.
 
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