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Byron Nemeth

Group - 100 Worlds

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of Dream Theater should love this album, as should most fans of harder edged prog rock. The disc is 13 instrumental prog numbers that are quite strong. The only real issue here is that it tends to drag a bit in the middle due to similarity of some of the music. Vocals would have been a quick and easy fix to that problem. Still, it really only hits in a couple places, and doesn't last long. The closing segment of the album is awesome. This is one of the better instrumental prog albums you will find around. Byron Nemeth provides all the guitar work on the disc, and his band is rounded out by Jimm Motyka (keyboards), Jeff Curenton (drums) and Brian Glodde (bass).

Even the production credits on this one are impressive. It was mastered at Abbey Road studios by Nick Webb whose engineering credits include Queen's "News of the World" and Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast". The group gets some help by guests Joe Deninzon, Dominick Fariacci and BC Richards.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

Track by Track Review
100
Fast paced acoustic guitar starts this, and the rest of the band join on this melody to create a brief, but effective intro to the disc.
Lightning's Touch
As the title suggests, this comes in fast and fiery. The band move this instrumental through the course of several changes, feeling at times like Rush and at others like Dream Theater. A scorching hard rock guitar solo that would have been at home on an album by any of the '70's guitar heroes takes it later. They drop it to a pretty balladic segment later still. Then it ramps up again to a highly dramatic segment that feels a bit like something Lana Lane might do. Keys in atmospheric waves end this.
Majestic Overture
Noisy sounding keys start this, but the band quickly launch into a crunchy prog jam that shows elements of such artists as Yes, Rush and Dream Theater. This one is quite dynamic and very effective. It's crunchy, but all prog and includes a brief drum solo.
Serpent's Eye
Very dramatic keyboard elements with Eastern tinges and a mysterious texture make up the extended into here. As the band launches into the main segment of this composition those Eastern elements are all over this. They move away from that one the section that would probably be the chorus if there were vocals. This dynamic hard edged instrumental prog cut has less obvious influences than some of the others, but a keyboard dominated break seems a lot like a crunchier ELP. Nemeth's guitar work and Motyka's kyes are both awesome on this one as is the inventive arrangement. This is one of my favorites on the disc. It features a Rushish segment later over which Nemeth lays down some more highly tasty guitar work. It crescendos, then drops to acoustic guitar with keyboard layers and the sound of birds overtop.
Firedance
Another fast paced, crunchy prog rocker, this one is solid. It's just a bit too much like the other material and by this point the lack of vocals is starting wear heavily. This is a fairly short one.
I Don't Mind
We needed a change of pace, and it is provided. This is a mellower acoustic based bluesy balladic cut, and a great respite from the familiar textures of the album to this point. Nemeth provides a tasty screaming electric slow blues solo.
Russian Winter
Wind and other effects start this, then a pretty piano join to bring in a melancholy melody. As synth filters in over top the sound effects leave. This piano segment carries for a quite a time then a hard rock take on traditional Russian music becomes the order of the day. The band is joined on this one by the remarkable violinist Joe Deninzon, and the addition certainly works well to complete the texture of the piece. This is an incredibly powerful metallic prog rock instrumental. It alternates between more modern sections and those that come close to approximating an old world feeling. It drops back later to just keys (mostly piano) then Deninzon takes an incredibly emotional solo, the band coming in to emphasize it. They then launch into a highly energized take on the main musical themes. It then drops back to more tradition sounds again. Wind ends this.
La Luz De Barcelona
Dramatic keys and acoustic flamenco guitar starts this dramatically in a flavor one would expect from the title. Over tones hint at an energy and power to come, but it is never realized. Instead this one remains a brief, fairly traditional Spanish excursion.
Spanish Tango
After a break from it, the band launch back into their familiar mainstay style of high-energy crunchy prog. This one includes a couple of flamenco segments, though, in an appropriate tango styled arrangement.
Tsunami Sea
This has a more ominous metallic sound than a lot of the other material. It just screams in. It shifts then to another Eastern tinged, jam, but the ominous tones return and the group alternate between these two themes. A neoclassical metallic break is included here that is quite effective and powerful. Nemeth throws in a tasty solo after it. This leads to a DT like segue, then a lunch into a turbo charged Eastern type section that is pretty incredible. Keyboard dominated weirdness moves it to its next segment. Bass guitar puts down a backbeat over which a bluesy guitar lays down patterns of sound. The group start moving this upward by intensifying it and reworking the themes until it explodes into a full on classic rock foray that feels just a tiny bit like the more intense segment of The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" but on steroids. They then turn the corner to a full on metallic excursion that really cranks and serves to end the piece.
Power To Destroy
The modern prog elements ala DT and others are all over this cool cut that features both tasty instrumental work and the occasional odd timing. This one moves through a wide variety of themes while still remaining very consistent and cohesive. Easter textures show up quite a bit on this one again, and the keys get a cool solo. This is my favorite on the disc. It truly smokes.
The Voyage
As if knowing that a break from the fury of the last piece was needed, this one comes in mellow, keys and acoustic guitar creating an enchantingly beautiful melody. After this runs through it is reinvented as an almost ELP like movement, then the song shifts gear again. As Dominick Fariacci's trumpet enters this feels a lot like a flamenco tinged jazz performance. They begin alternating between this and the ELP like section 'til Nemeth launches into another turbo charged guitar solo. As they return to the ELP like section Motyka solos over top. The jazz flamenco section takes up from there, but then Nemeth crunches out another solo. They drop to a sedate almost Crimson like weirdness with Latin percussion and trumpet to continue. This normalizes to a mellower segment of just percussion, bass and trumpet, then eventually ramps upward. The band turns this arrangement into an expansive prog excursion. A staccato movement takes it after that and the Latin sound dominates the next changes of the piece. Brian Glodde puts in a stellar performance on bass here.
Of Dreams and Nightmares
Textural keys start this, running through for a short time. Then the band launches into another powerhouse crunchy jam. This one stomps out pretty well. Nemeth puts in more tasty soloing. They shift it to an even more metallic jam, then resolve this into something akin to old Rush. Then a frantic bass line serves as the backdrop for an energized acoustic guitar based segment before they bump it back up. This drops to the sedate later to carry forward, the then guitar thunders in and a slower arena rock styled jam takes over. This gets very powerful and dramatic. BC. Richards adds operatic vocals over top to give this an epic feel. While overall not my favorite song on the disc, this powerhouse makes for the best conceivable climax. All you can do after it ends is try to catch your breath. The final segment is purely amazing.
 
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