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Midnight Lands

Destroy the World

Review by Gary Hill

This new disc is pretty interesting stuff. It is not a perfect fit under the "progressive rock" banner, but I'm happy enough putting it there. Some of it is decidedly prog, albeit in a modern edgy or an AOR (depending on the song) way. Beyond that I'd say that there is a proggy element to much of the lyrical content, and just the sort of "throw away the rule book yet come up with something that works" approach is proggy in itself. There is a bit of an awkward, DIY element here, but it's actually one of its charms. This isn't actually a band, but you wouldn't know that from listening to it. It's all one guy - Ben Averch.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Catch and Release
Powering in energized and rocking, this has a real emo kind of vibe to it. It's a lot of fun.
Love to Give
Starting with drums, there is almost a metal edge to this stomper. It has some of the same textures as the opener, but while that felt a bit light-hearted, this seems serious. One complaint on this is that the vocals seem to get lost in the mix a bit at times. I dig the expressive guitar solo.
Sea Break
This has some cool guitar work on it, too. The track starts mellower, but works out to more of a powered up jam after a time. This is not quite metal, but it's also far from anything like emo. There is almost an AOR prog edge to it.
Lost in Time
This has a real alternative rock edge. Yet some of that prog thing is still in place. It's edgy, rocking and a bit catchy at the same time.
New Dream Now
There is more of a punky vibe to this. It's still connected to the rest of the music here, but just has a bit more DIY sound built into it. I like it, but not as much as I like some of the rest of the music here.
Destroy the World
The title track starts with echoey percussive elements. Vocals come over the top in almost psychedelic rock edge. As other instruments join that psychedelic thing is reinforced. There is a bit of a Cure sort of sound to it in some ways. I like the distant kind of sound on this. It almost lends a space rock thing. This is one of the highlights of the disc. The lyrics touch on quantum physics. I bet you can't say that about a lot of songs. I love the guitar soloing near the end. I'm also a fan of the way the bass drives the actual outro of the song.
Blood from a Stone
More of a power ballad sort of cut, this actually sounds a bit like the Rolling Stones. It's a good tune, but not at the same level as some of the rest.
Take Flight
This is a more melodic piece. I'd have zero problem landing this song under progressive rock. Sure, it has some rough-around-the-edges texture, but the changes and general arrangement are full-on post prog at least. There are sections that feel like Marillion or Yes even.
Slow Motion Disaster
This one is definitely progressive rock, too. There is a space rock edge to it, as well. It has some crunchy textures in the mix. The vocals are among the best of the disc, and this mid-tempo soaring pieces is one of the highlights of the set.
What is Left to Prove
Here we get another with both a hard rocking edge and some hints of progressive rock built into it. There is a tasty DIY element at play, too. The prog stylings on this are of the AOR variety, but they do exist.
Caught Outside

More of a powered up ballad, this one has a bit of a soaring, proggy element on display. It has a definite alternative rock edge, too.

Standing Above

Another that's very ballad-like, this gets some rocking guitar at the end. It has elements of both prog and metal in some ways.

 
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