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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Max Enix

Far From Home

Review by Gary Hill

The mix of sounds here is pretty amazing. There are passages that are full symphonic. We get some operatic vocals at points. Then at another end there are some definite metal elements, leaning toward the extreme school of that genre at points. The overall effect is progressive rock and art rock, but we even get some rap in a couple places on the album. My one complaint about the album is that it is just too long. Were this thing shortened back a little, I think it would have made my 'best of 2023" list. It just seems to overstay its welcome a little at points if you spin the whole thing from the start to the finish.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1
The End of An Era

Atmospherics with something that sounds like throat singing gets this going. The track works out to dramatic and powerful somewhat metallic prog. The mix of voices and symphonic and rock elements works so well. At times I'm reminded of Dream Theater here, and at other points it's closer to Pink Floyd. This is so dynamic and diverse shifting throughout.

Tears of Earth
This feels a little more metallic overall, but there are still plenty of prog twists, turns and flavorings. While a bit more mainstream and less dynamic than the opener, it still has plenty of surprises and works really well. They even bring some hip hop into the mix here, at least vocally. The music is quite symphonic during that section. Then in sharp contrast, there is a full opera vocal performance further down the road. Piano takes over at the end of this track.
City of Mortals
Starting with piano, female vocals come in over the top as this gets underway. While the arrangement fills in somewhat and some male vocals join, this remains fairly mellow until around a minute-and-a-half. Then it powers outward with a metallic prog arrangement. That plays through before it drops back to piano again. This evolves into quite a progressive masterpiece. It's dynamic and varied. There is a real symphonic prog angle to it, but it also leans on metal a lot of the time.  This has such a great balance between mellower and more rocking stuff.
Prayer of the Gods
This is another that comes in a little more on the metal side and mainstream at times. Yet it is still dynamic and quite progressive rock oriented, too. This thing get so powerful and inspiring as it continues. It also drops to mellower modes from some dramatically evocative moments.
In this Forgotten Paradise
Starting as a piano and vocal ballad with some classically aligned layers of sound over that backdrop, this builds gradually. While there are bursts of more rocking things, this track remains on the mellower, more symphonic side of the equation. It's very much symphonic prog music. Some world music enters later.
An Illusional Kiss
Harder rocking and yet every bit as proggy, this is another killer song. It's got plenty of classical and even operatic, angles built into it. Yet, it also has some killer electric guitar soloing. It's a particularly effective piece on a set full of strong music.
The Dark and Bright Tunnel
The piano and vocal focused part that starts this is exceptionally powerful and evocative. The song works out to more of the hard-edged prog that is a big part of the whole release. It continues to evolve and work between various modes and styles as it continues. As this approaches the nine-minute mark there is a cool fast-paced arrangement that has both fusion and prog concepts built into it that takes over.
The Forsaken Ocean
While the basic concept isn't changed music, this is definitely its own song. I love the melodic and dramatic prog built into this. The song has some especially evocative moments.
Childhood Emotions

At less than three-and-a-half minutes long, this is the shortest track here. It's another fine example of the same kind of intriguing prog music we've heard throughout. It's just in a more concise package and a bit more restrained than some of the rest.

The Broken Face
Driving, energized and powerful, this is a killer rocker. It has some symphonic elements and a lot of great twists and turns. There is a mellower section around the mid-track that really shows off the symphonic angles. It powers out into some scorching hot metal from there, though.
Beyond my Blood
Hard-edged, this feels more along the lines of progressive metal than it does metallic prog most of the time. It's a potent tune that's another strong entry on the disc.
Mirrors of Time
Piano, vocals and symphonic instrumentation are the order of business as this gets underway. The number evolves with a more involved symphonic, orchestral structure added to it. It gets more powered up and hard rocking, event leaning toward metal at times mid-track. Overall this is decidedly proggy and on the mellow symphonic side, though.
Angels of the Apocalyptic Storm
I love the intricate and sedate arrangement that starts this. We get a blast of fierce metallic jamming pretty quickly here. This turns toward speed metal with extreme metal vocals after a short time. This thing continues to evolves. Parts are mellower. Other sections are based on prog concepts. Yet there is also some serious blast metal in the mix at times. And, there are places where two or more of those things are merged.
Far From Home
The closing title track is the epic of the disc at more than 27-and-a-half minutes of music. This thing is epic in scope. There are parts that are full symphonic. Other sections get quite firmly into metal territory. They also bring in some more that hip hop stuff on this track. This thing could have almost been an album all itself. It has enough drama, music and variety to work as such. This is the real highlight of the whole set for me. It's pure magic.


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