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Intelligent Music Project V

Life Motion

Review by Gary Hill

This new set is part of a series of releases, that I treat as separate artists. Perhaps I should have started doing it differently. That said, since the lineup of musicians is different from album to album, maybe this makes more sense. I generally land these under prog, and this is no exception. The music tends toward the AOR side, though, and there is a lot of metal here. That said, the appearance of Simon Phillips and John Payne in the lineup would have made me lean in the prog direction, anyway. While Payne provides some of the vocals, he's joined by Ronnie Romero and Richard Grisman. Really, as good as the music is, this vocal team steals the show most of the time.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
A Kind of Real Life
The opening movement on this makes me think a little of the mellower side of Rush. The cut turns out to more of an 80s metal meets AOR prog vibe for the verses. It shifts to harder rocking zones for the chorus. This is a real powerhouse and a great opening tune. There is a real anthemic metal vibe to it.
Don't Let Them Win
That anthemic metal edge is all over this one, too. The cut has plenty of prog tendencies built into it, too, though. This is another accessible tune. It has some great hooks and meaty guitar sounds. The vocal arrangement is particularly noteworthy with is classic rock textures.
Where I Belong
Piano brings this into being. The cut works out there with a nice prog ballad exploration as other instruments augment the arrangement. It drops to a piano arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. This gets more powered up further down the road. It even features some smoking hot shredding guitar work. Essentially a power-ballad, this definitely walks the fence between AOR prog and metallic rock of the mellower variety.
Letting Me In
A hard rocking jam with plenty of AOR sound built into it, this is another that leans heavily toward metal. It is accessible and has a strong multi-layer vocal arrangement.
We Keep on Running
This screaming hot tune is definitely metallic. I can make out some definite hints of things like Sweet and Queen. There is a bit of a Scorpions vibe here, too.
By the Side of the Minute
The instrumental arrangement on this is mostly piano and guitar. The AOR prog concepts really drive this tune. It's perhaps a bit harder rocking than a power-ballad, but it follows that sort of mellower leads to more rocking concept. This is another that makes me think of Queen in some ways.
Run Away
This hard rocker is another classy tune. It's probably equal parts metal and AOR prog until it hits the instrumental break. That is all progressive rock as far as I'm concerned. From there they take it into a more melodic jam that's equally proggy for the another vocal bit. Then a smoking hot guitar solo takes over.
The Final Act
A power ballad styled number, this is another that does a great job of treading the line between metal and AOR prog. I love the bass work on this, but the whole instrumental arrangement is great. The vocal arrangement even passes that up, though. There are definitely some proggy shifts and changes built into this thing.
Reflecting
Drums start this cut. The bass joins with some real style and manages to show off as the cut grows outward from there. At around the minute-and-a-half mark some intricate guitar paints some killer musical visions. The vocals come in over the top of a fairly mellow arrangement, but the cut shifts to more hard rocking, metallic zones after that first vocal movement. There are some dramatic metal textures on some of this. Some of the lead guitar work brings a neo-classical angle. This is a real powerhouse tune.
Every Time
Delicate acoustic guitar at times augmented by violin leads this track out of the gate. This is a powerful ballad for the first verse. The tune shifts to more hard rocking sounds after that, landing more in that power ballad zone. The melodic rock instrumental movement later brings more proggy elements to it. The vocal arrangement really wins the show here, but the dynamic instrumental structure works so well to augment it. There is a particularly expressive electric guitar solo built into this. That leads to a mellower, proggy, piano-led outro.
Rising
Starting with a drum solo, this eventually makes its way to a riff driven crunch rocker that's the most decidedly metallic thing here. Scorpions meets Sweet is not a bad description of this cut. There is some killer bass work built into the number. A switched up section late in the piece brings some definite metal meets prog angle. That instrumental movement isn't particularly long, though.
The Things in Your Mind
Purely classical instrumentation brings this into being. That introduction gives way to a piano and vocal arrangement. This grows out to some of the most purely proggy stuff of the whole disc. It still gets a bit crunchy, but really manages to pull off some great prog sounds. The soaring symphonic movement later is a nice touch, and it gives way to a killer melodic and crunchy guitar solo as the whole piece seems to continue to climb.
 
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