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DarWin 2 - A Frozen War

Review by Gary Hill

The new set from prog act DarWin, this might be even better than the first one. In fact, this is likely to make my "best of 2020" list.  The sound is often AOR oriented, but there is quite a bit of range here, and the whole thing is just potent. My only complaint is that it's a bit short at just over half an hour of music. Joining DarWin on the album is a list of musicians that includes Simon Phillips, Matt Bissonette (those two making up the core of the band as they did last time),  Billy Sheehan, Guthrie Govan, Greg Howe and Derek Sherinian.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Nightmare Of My Dreams
Intricate sounds bring this into being. The cut powers upward from there with a hard rocking version of symphonic prog. Then it drops back down a bit for the verse. There is a rap metal kind of section built into it later with a prog metal edge to it. This song is a dynamic and very powerful. It shifts to a very classical music infused movement for a mellower instrumental section. We are eventually brought back to the song proper before it's all over and done.
Future History
There is a metallic edge to the hard rocking guitar. The song has plenty of AOR prog in the mix. This works through a number of shifts as it continues. The cut has some real class, and cool movements. It never gets into the rap zones of the opener, but it also is more hard edged and less symphonic. There is some killer guitar work on this thing and some decidedly progressive rock based breaks.
Eternal Life
This one is another with plenty of AOR textures. It has a real melodic rock sound to it. It also has a stripped back rock groove. The instrumental break has some killer jamming and great keyboard sounds.
A Frozen War
Sound effects of a war give way to a countdown. With "go," the song fires out into a metallic prog kind of element. Then it drops to mellower modes. There are sound bits over the top of that backdrop. The song becomes sort of an AOR prog number that's quite classy. The instrumental section on this is purely on fire.
Another Year
This is another killer AOR prog number. It's all class and has some killer guitar soloing built into it. The addition of female vocals are a nice touch.
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