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YYY

Aquadungeon

Review by Gary Hill

This could land under non-prog as more of an alternative rock set. I think based on the artsy characteristic and experimental nature that it fits more in the prog zone, though. At times this leans toward overly processed, but for the most part it avoids that. It is definitely strange, but oddly compelling, too.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Aquadungeon
Coming up from ambience, some killer keyboard textures begin. It has some cool textures built into it. As the vocals join, the cut takes on sort of a trippy psychedelic meets modern prog vibe. There is a freaky build up at the end.
Keep Off the Lawn
After a "hear we go" this works into a groove that feels a bit like hip hop. The vocals bring a weird alternative rock vibe to it. The music in the background is a bit bizarre and artsy. There is a bit too much processing on some of the vocals. This is a rather odd song. It's weirdly effective. I dig the cool electronic section later in the number. There is a strange bit with a voice message at the end.
Youth In Asia
This is a much more accessible track. It's artsy and has a cool electronic vibe. Again, the vocals are too processed for my tastes, but this is a fun cut. I really dig the way the instrumental section takes it toward an electronic classic treatment before working into space. It comes back into the song proper from there.
Cool World
A more energized vibe is present at the start of this. The cut works to one of the more effective electronic meets alternative pop sounds.
Waste
The electronic vibe on this has a melody that calls to mind "Lucy in the Skies" a bit. It works to a more driving alternative electro pop vibe. This gets more rocking as it continues later. It has a modern prog vibe to it in some ways and has some solid hooks.
Belayed
Another that has plenty of psychedelia along with some definite art rock vibes built into it, this is one of the more effective tracks here. It has a spoken rap type thing at the end, and is strange, but also pretty cool.
I.philia
I rather enjoy the electronic vibes on this thing. The cut drives with some classy sounds. There is a good balance between mellower and more powered up movements. This has some of the most decidedly progressive rock like stuff, particularly late in the number.
UU
There is definitely plenty of weird alternative pop stuff here. The cut has some real strangeness built into it. It is very electronic and has a rather fun vibe to it. There is a bit of spoken stuff that feels like studio recording at the end.
And the Swords Don't Bend
The energetic and bouncy vibe on this thing has a bit of a jazzy element. I really dig the cool synthesized sounds on this, and the number is one of the strongest (and proggy) things here. The sounds a siren end join at the end of the song proper. From there we're taken into some rather spacey ambient stuff to take the number to the end.
Terra Incognita
Percussion pounds this into being. The cut works outward from there with a decidedly electronic prog sound. It has some definite alternative rock in the mix, and works well. There is a false ending before the five-minute mark. Some footsteps or other ambient sound is heard before some rather lush keyboard textures rise up. It has an electronic symphonic vibe that builds out to more of a melodic modern progressive rock sound.
 
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