Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 

Lifesigns

Altitude

Review by Gary Hill

I've heard this band referred to as cross-over prog or AOR or any number of other things that describe a sound that's prog, but not quite. Or at least that's my interpretation of those labels. Well, I just don't see that at all. Sure, the music here is on the melodic end of the prog spectrum, but it's decidedly progressive rock. It does a great job of bridging classic prog rock and modern angles of the sound. This is such a strong album. In fact, if I'd heard it last year, when it was released, I can say almost for certain that it would have made my "best of" list for the year. Well, all I can say is I'm glad I got to hear this, better late than never.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Altitude
The opener is an epic that runs more than 15-minutss. It comes in atmospheric and gradually works upward. It works to a mellow balladic approach for the entrance of the first vocals. This is pretty and dramatic, and the building process continues. It begins to become more rocking around the three-minute mark. After the vocals drop away, though, it really explodes into a driving, soaring prog jam with killer keyboards over the top. Don't miss that awesome bass work, though. After the keyboard part does its thing, a classy melodic guitar solo takes command for a time. The cut makes its way to an invigorated return to vocal driven music. The number continues to evolve through varying instrumental passages, vocal movements and more. It is always melodic and solid. This is too meaty to call AOR, but it's certainly as accessible as AOR prog. The mellower instrumental movement at the end, with cello and violin is so beautiful.
Gregarious
The bouncy arrangement that starts this off makes me think of the band Jellyfish. This has some definite proggy angles, even in that section. The track works out from there to more purely progressive rock based sound. There is some scorching guitar work later in the piece, and this is really quite a powerful number.
Ivory Tower
Pretty and balladic as it gets underway, I'm reminded a bit of both Genesis and early King Crimson. While it works through in that fashion for a time, it eventually explodes out in style to a more powered up prog jam. This is another particularly effective melodic progressive rock excursion. It has some killer twists and turns and great rocking moments.
Shoreline
There is so much drama and style built into this prog number. I'm definitely reminded of the Ray Wilson era of Genesis on this. Other more modern prog is on the menu, too.
Fortitude
There are some particularly soaring moments of instrumental work on this tune. The track has some great rocking textures in the mix. I can make out some hints of Beatles-like things here at times. The vocal arrangement is classy, but the whole song is, really. At a little over ten-minutes long, this is an epic piece. It's not just epic in terms of length, though, fitting under that heading in terms of scope. There are some moments that again call to mind Genesis on this piece, but just in passing sections. I love the powerhouse jam later in the track.
Arkhangelsk
This is a brief instrumental connecting piece. It's largely atmospheric.
Last One Home
Starting with piano and voice, this cut builds out as the most purely balladic piece here. It's a great tune and a nice change. The slow moving guitar solo is very classy.
Altitude Reprise
This is a short return to earlier music with a cool groove to it. It's a nice way to end things in style.
 
Return
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2022 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com