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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gabriel Keller

Clair Obscur

Review by Gary Hill

Gabriel Keller is a musician from France, and this solo album showcases his particular flavor of progressive rock. It leans heavily on the AOR side of things, but manages to get into more challenging prog at times. The vocals are all provided by various female guest singers, and the majority of the lyrics are in English. I have to say that I wish this took more chances and got a bit more creative, but overall it's an effective release.

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
Tumulte
Sound effects give way to balladic music as this works out from nothing to get the album going. This instrumental opener gets quite powerful before it's over and done.
Time
More of a mainstream balladic piece as it gets going, the vocals on this are effective. The tune really builds into more rocking zones as it continues.
Train To Resolution
This cut comes in with even mellower sounds. It gets more powered up and proggy further down the road, but overall feels more like a mainstream rock ballad.
Open Arms
Another that has a lot of mainstream balladic concept at play, this gets more powered up at times. The vocal performance is particularly strong.
Melancholia
There are plenty of jazz elements on this number. The cut is a solid one, but also another that is largely mainstream. The lyrics, I believe, are in French. The vocals make me think of Dolores O'Riordan at times.
Sonate Au Clair Obscur
Classically styled piano starts this, The number grows with some symphonic strings added to the mix. There is a real chamber music element at play here. This gets into some seriously prog zones as it continues. It combines bombastic symphonic instrumental work along with rather chorale vocals to good effect. This is a masterpiece that's a definite highlight of the set.
Nothing Human
A harder rocking number, this still has some proggy tendencies, but reaches into metallic zones. It's a powerhouse song.
Out Of My Life
While there are definitely proggy things at play here, this definitely leans in on the metal angles and reference points. The jam later that takes into klesmer-like territory is so classy and brings more prog to bear.
Honey
There is a real anthemic metal vibe at play here. There are some proggy things at play, but overall this is much more of a metal stomper.
Accalmie
Intricate acoustic guitar starts this track. Chorale vocals are heard over the top in gentle lines.
 
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