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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kinetic Element

Chasing The Lesser Light

Review by Gary Hill

I have reviewed several releases from Kinetic Element over the years. This latest is sort of a concept album that is based on the past, present and future of space exploration. The music seems a bit more forward thinking than that on some of their other albums. That's neither a good or bad thing. In the past they have probably been a bit more set on the prog of past eras. While this new disc has those things at play, it also seems to be more about the progressive rock of today, too. There are some really epic pieces here. The one thing that doesn't always work that well for me is the vocals. The music is always nailing it, though, and it's not really a big issue, either way.

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Track by Track Review
First Stage
Dramatic, rather symphonic textures get us underway here. Some hard-edged guitar eventually joins, but then drops away. The track builds into a rocking prog arrangement for the song proper from there. It gets more melodic for a time. The cut eventually shifts into another prog arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. This drives forward with some alternative rock angles and edges in the prog motif. There is a cool break later with almost a boogie woogie feel to it and some killer piano work. That said, the timing and changes are distinctly proggy. The resolves to more soaring prog sounds from there. It works back to the song proper before we're eventually taken to the end.
Chasing the Lesser Light
Melodic, dramatic prog sounds are on display as this number gets going. The track builds on that basis to continue. At nearly twenty-minutes of music, this is an epic piece. There are some non-lyrical vocals that show up, but otherwise this extended intro continues with a driving instrumental prog concept. I'm definitely reminded of Emerson Lake and Palmer at times as it works through. Eventually lyrical vocals join over the top of a keyboard backdrop. We're taken into more ELP-like rocking further down the road. This keeps twisting, turning and reinventing. There is a fast-paced, driving, bouncing movement that's among the best of this piece around the half-way mark. It has some killer expressive guitar work, too. We get some smoking hot keyboard work over a cool rhythmic pattern from there. It makes me think just a little of a proggy Doors. This keeps rocking and rolling and evolving.  We get into more of a melodic and almost playful arrangement further down the road. This gets more rocking again beyond that as the vocals join. This really is quite the ride, continuing to change and progress from there. I really love the keyboard work on the closing instrumental section.
Radio Silence
I really love the mellow and melodic keyboard heavy introduction to this. There is a sense of magic and beauty to it. Vocals come in over a balladic motif as this continues to evolve. While this grows upward, it remains mellower and more restrained than some of the others. There is an instrumental section later that includes a sound bite of the famous first step onto the moon. This gets very soaring and classy as it gets into a later instrumental movement. That section includes some killer bass work, too. This just keeps growing as it continues. Then a climax gives way to a return to decidedly mellow concepts that sees the return of the vocals. Melodic prog continues to hold it until a short buildup that heralds the end of the piece.
We Can't Forget
Intricate guitar gets us going here. The track works outward from there. They build on that basic concept with some killer prog rock jamming that ensues from there. All the instruments shine. It drops back to for the entrance of the vocals. The cut makes good use of shifts from mellower to more rocking and vice versa, along with other variants and alterations as it continues. I really love a dramatic prog rock jam around the seven-minute mark in particular. This does get into some pretty hard rocking territory before it's over.
Door to Forever

Fading up with an almost Yesish jam, this begins to grow from there. After working through on that for a time, it drops to a mellower segment that makes me think of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album for a short period. A vocal section that's different from both of the those earlier modes emerges and the cut begins a new evolution from there. We're taken on quite a ride of twists, turns and variants as this continues. There is a killer, nearly jazzy, jam that takes over later on this ride. Other changes ensue from there, and it eventually gets back into vocal territory. The music seems (appropriately) to soar into space at the end of this ride.

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