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The Raptor Trail

New World

Review by Gary Hill

These guys are being billed as a progressive rock act. There are sections here that are definitely prog rock. For those two reasons combined, I’ve included them in the prog part of Music Street Journal. Let me say that, there is a good helping of alternative rock here. There is also some country and Southern rock. This is a strong album with some particularly strong songs. I would say that to me the biggest draw back here is that there is enough variety in terms of tempo and peaks and valleys. The whole thing has a tendency to feel just a little flat and monolithic. Still, it works well, despite that, and no matter what type of music you consider it to be.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Four Times

Starting with the sounds of the outdoors (that will return on the last two numbers), this shifts to a powerhouse rocking jam. This is guitar driven and has an alternative rock edge. Yet, there is an overall artsy kind of vibe to it. Some of the changes in the mix (and particularly the mellower drop back) bring the prog to the table. The guitar solo section is smoking hot. The whole piece just really exudes an intriguing atmosphere. To me there are hints of fusion, but also echoes of things like Rush and King’s X.

Whoville
With alternating mellower and more rocking movements, this again has both the alternative rock edge and things that lean toward Rush or King’s X.
Going To Dublin
On the one hand, there is a riff driving this that has a real blues rock kind of vibe to it. Yet, this is perhaps more decidedly prog than the tunes that came before it were. The fast paced breaks here bring some serious prog. The other sections lean more along the lines of King’s X. The second half of this extended piece is made up of multiple instrumental sections. The first instrumental section has both pure prog and some technical metal built into it. Next, here is another instrumental section that is even more purely progressive rock based. When they come out of that there is a guitar riff that makes me think of Iron Maiden just a little. Still, this just keeps shifting and changing as it works forward. They bring in some fusion and more as they continue. I love the bass solo. There is just a voice at the end of the piece.
Stone By Stone
This has a bit of a dreamy, trippy groove to it. There are some cool bits of backward tracking at times. The piece has a great flow to it. There are some decidedly prog-like sections here, but a lot of this does make me think of King’s X.
Let It Go
More than the first minute of this is made up of atmospheric keyboard textures. Percussion comes in, and they work to a real fusion oriented jam as other instruments are added. The song turns more towards the alternative rock based edge we’re used to hearing after a while.
The Fall
This is mellower in a lot of ways. It’s also more purely prog in style. It powers up mid-track for a talk box guitar solo. This piece really makes me think of Echolyn quite a bit for some reason.
New World
A fast paced prog jam opens this piece. They take it out to mellower stuff that’s more like a trippy, dreamy prog sound. There are some pretty cool changes on this piece. It still has links to things like King’s X, but in a lot of ways it’s one of the most purely progressive rock numbers here. I can definitely see comparisons to modern Rush.
Time Slides Onward
Now, this is an unusual mix of sounds. In some ways, this is more purely prog than just about anything here. Yet, there are also definite country music elements at play. The changes on this thing are great. There are a couple smoking hot fast paced prog jams, too.
Blue Highway
There is good energy built into this. There are some country elements here. This is another great proggy number with some dreamy textures. It’s one of the catchiest here, but has some cool proggy breaks, too.
Wheel
As this one comes in there is a heavy, crunchy texture that seems to be a blend of fusion and heavy metal. It drops to more melodic, mellower stuff for the vocals. There is a rise back upward to some dramatic powerhouse jamming on the instrumental break. We are brought back into the song proper beyond that, but it does power up further down the road again. Another instrumental movement around the seven and a half minute mark includes some more talk box. It lands a bit towards Animals era Pink Floyd to my ears.
Desolation
This is more of a mainstream melodic rocker at first. It turns metallic and harder rocking further down the road, though. There is a riff driven movement that leans toward Southern rock for certain. It works to more mainstream rock and other elements beyond that. There are definitely bits that feel like fusion to me. Outdoor sounds end this thing.
Grace
The outdoor sounds continue here. This is a balladic number. It’s very much country music meets folk. I don’t really hear any prog here, but it’s a good tune nonetheless.
 
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