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HOIA

Scavenger

Review by Gary Hill

I am sure the prog purists will argue with this landing under progressive rock. I'm not sure they are entirely wrong. Don't misunderstand me, this is progressive music, and it is rock. It just really seems to lean a lot more toward industrial or techno sounds than what one considers progressive rock. Still, they are being promoted as progressive rock, so I'm not going to argue. Besides, I love to stretch the boundaries, anyway and challenge preconceived notions. While there is a wide variety of sound, the dark moodiness that permeates the bulk of the set gets a bit old. Beyond that the tempo is pretty similar through much of the release. Still, there are some surprises, and this is an effective release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Write Across
Dramatic and rather dark sounds open this in intriguing ways. The cut works out to moody electronic elements as it continues. That serves as the backdrop for the vocals. There is a bit of an industrial or new wave edge to this, but it's also not far removed from modern moody prog. Around the halfway mark it drops to a mellower keyboard based section. That holds it as an interlude, but then a dark rocking mode takes over from there.
Escape Orb
Dark and trippy electronic elements bring this into being. .A percussive part joins as it starts to work forward. This gets faster paced and more purely prog rock based. Yet, it still has a techno, dark edge. This piece is of epic proportions weighing in at more than ten minutes of music. A killer guitar jam emerges around the three-minute mark. It brings some fusion and world music along with hard rock. The cut eventually screams upward with a decidedly metallic jam that has some hints of 90s King Crimson built into it. The piano that is included in the mix is crazed and bit dissonant. That peaks and leaves atmospherics behind. Eventually a new movement emerges that has some of that techno edge, but also hints of things ranging from Porcupine Tree to Pink Floyd. Then it explodes out to a furious metallic jam that has some definite thrash tendencies. Eventually that gives way to a mellower, but still moody movement that ends the piece.
Electric Wizard
This comes in rather crazed and jazzy. The cut grows outward from there with a dark, almost creepy, texture added to that mix. As the vocals come in they bring a rather trippy almost nightmarish vibe. There are intriguing little bits of weirdness that rise up here and there, with echoey modes. This thing is quite unusual, rather dreamlike and very interesting. As it approaches the four-minute mark, this drops to a mellower and quite gloomy arrangement for a time. It eventually makes its way back up to a more typical modern prog jam after a while. There is a bit of a powerhouse almost techno or industrial section at the end of this track.
Part 2
Weird, moody keyboards make up the musical concept here. This instrumental grows upward as a dark and cinematic number with a definite electronic edge to it.
Scavenger
The title track is hard rocking, gloomy and quite industrial in nature. It has a good balance between somewhat mellower and somewhat harder edged sounds. The guitar sounds that lean toward metal on this are smoking hot. They work it to some noisy weirdness for a time. Then it gives way to a jam that's part jazz and part mainstream rock music. That holds until they take to some seriously hard rocking and edgy music to continue. It ends with a weird distorted trail-off.
 
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