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ProAge

MPD

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing set from a Polish act that is unique. I dig the blend of hard-edged metallic sound with more pure prog. There are sections of this that lean toward Rock In Opposition. The vocals, though, don't work that well for me. They are a bit awkward and also rather samey. Still, this is strong despite that, and there are tunes when they work better. The music is a bit hard to keep track of it at times, as it can become a bit freeform, but that's really only an issue when you are trying to write about it, not when listening to it just to experience it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Homecoming
Piano starts the set. There is some symphonic instrumentation in the mix during this introduction. Then they power out into a cool harder edge prog jam to continue. That ends giving way to some seriously crunchy riff-driven guitar. Keyboards come over the top as this works forward. It has a hard rocking prog meets space rock feeling with some hints of world music in the mix. That ends abruptly, and we're taken into more melodic and mellower prog from the entrance of the vocals. The cut works forward with that sort of element evolving before it explodes into some fiery and rather metallic jamming. They take that instrumental movement through a number of shifts and changes along this road. There is some cool keyboard work on display as this keeps driving forward. It drops back to the main song section after the five-and-a-half minute mark. The cut continues to change from there, working through some more intriguing movements before it's over.
Stolen Time
Only about fifteen seconds long, this is just a short interlude.
Multiple Personality Disorder
I dig the mix of keyboard textures and rocking sounds at the start of this. The cut has a bit of psychedelia in the mix. There are hints of space rock here, too. This song musically is quite a bit different than the opener was, but the vocals make it seem pretty similar. I dig the jazzy sort of interlude that comes in later in the track.
Is It My Mind
Some evocative classical piano brings this into being. A bass line begins to churn in the background. Drums join, and the whole piece starts to accelerate into progressive rock zones. It doesn't get more instrumentation for a time, though. Instead the vocals come in over the top of this backdrop. The vocals here seem different than those we've heard thus far. I dig some of the keyboard textures that come in over the top later in the number. It turns harder rocking after a while, but the overall concept doesn't change too much in the process. I love the vocals on the chorus. This is actually one of my favorite songs here. There is some killer guitar soloing after the five-minute mark in one of the hardest edged sections of this song. I dig the keyboard fills that come in after the guitar solo, too.
Shadows Guide
This piece (just about a minute long) is a keyboard solo. It has some intriguing flavors and segues directly into the next piece.
Entrapment
This comes in hard rocking, feeling a lot like Deep Purple. The cut shifts more toward pure prog as it continues to drive forward. An organ led break around the minute-and-a-half mark is an interesting touch. Harder rocking stuff emerges to take it forward a minute or so later. The changes that emerge further down the road move things along in rather un-predictable and a bit odd ways. I dig the merging of hard-edged rock with something that seems to have elements of Rock In Opposition, particularly in the vocals. It's an intriguing juxtaposition. This is quite dynamic and really represents a lot of different things. Piano leads it out into a cool jam around the seven-minute mark that represents a new and different movement. The changes aren't finished, though, as this works through a series of changes from there. There are moments of this that make me think of Fish era Marillion a little. It segues into the next number.
The Alchemist
Coming out of the previous one, a keyboard workout section drives this forward and upward, holding it without other instrumentation for quite some time. There is some guitar further down the road, but more as icing. The vocals are spoken here. I dig the jazzy saxophone and keyboard interlude later. This is one of the highlights of the disc.
John Somebody
Seeming to come out of the previous number, folk music and jazzy textures merge here. The cut is mellow and grows gradually in a balladic arrangement. It works out to some cool psychedelic inspired stuff for a short connecting bit that feels a bit like The Doors. They work out from there to some killer jamming. Then it gets some crunchier textures added to the mix. A hard rocking section ends it.
Noises Inside
Intricate guitar brings this into being with a mellow arrangement that is in stark contrast to the previous piece. After running through like that for a bit, the cut shifts gears to a more up-tempo jam that has a driving bass line over which keyboards create patterns of sound. As this thing continues to develop there are definitely references to fusion to be made. The vocals come in over the top of this arrangement. When a hard driving section emerges later it reminds me a bit of Dream Theater. It evolves from there, though. A spoken vocal section emerges before another sung one in the earlier section joins. Then we're back into the DT-like stuff from there. This thing continues to evolve, working through different sections as it continues. It's a bit hard to keep track of at times.
Profane
Dramatic piano brings this into being. Vocals come in over the top of that with very little else in the mix. The track gets a bit harder rocking after a "ha ha ha ha ha ha," section. There is a real sense of insanity to this number. Around the minute-and-a-half mark this explodes out to driving hard rock. We're brought back to the mellower stuff after that, but it transitions back beyond it. This is strange, but one of the highlights here. It has some cool keyboard soloing further down the road, too. There is also a bit of a Doors kind of interlude later.
Magic Adrift a Liquid
This interlude seems to come out of the previous number. Only a little bit over a minute long, it features flute and piano. It's quite pretty and evocative.
Concrete Spring
The metallic guitar sound that brings this in creates a stark contrast to the mellower modes of the last number. There is a real stoner metal vibe as this drives onward. You might think that it's something from a new Electric Wizard album. The vocals come in over the top of that. The cut still feels like metal, but not like EW then. As it approaches the two minute mark it shifts to a mellower movement for spoken vocals. I'm reminded of the band Halloween a bit. The cut rises up back up into the metallic stuff from there, though. The cut begins to make its way through a number of shifts and changes after a time. I love the fast-paced, tastefully off-kilter jam that emerges around the five-minute mark. It takes things in some cool directions. There is some frantic, and rather crazed, guitar soloing later. A shift toward more metallic stuff serves as the backdrop for a synthesizer solo.
My Name's Twilight
Coming in textural, this shifts to a cool, more mainstream, prog jam from there. This is a bit more of a straight-line number than some of the rest are, but it still has some shifts and changes.
 
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