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The 5th Season

Review by Gary Hill

The brand of progressive rock on this is guitar-based. It leans toward metal at times. However references to Jethro Tull (not just because of the use of flute), Hawkwind and Rush and more are valid at times. This is diverse, dynamic and powerful. It's also very strong and unique.

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Track by Track Review
The opening piece is the epic of the set at over 13-minutes long. Wind starts it, then a martial drum element joins. As it continues a rocking guitar brings a sound that seems to combine early Rush with Judas Priest's first album. As it drops back for the entrance of the vocals, it feels like the proggier side of Iron Maiden. That movement is punctuated by a metallic burst of sound. As the vocals shift to falsetto I'm reminded of Priest's "Dreamer Deceiver." This works out to more metallic stomping from there, but it keeps getting shifted toward prog as it continues. The piece continues reinventing itself. Some parts are quite metal-based. Others are definitively guitar prog. There is a great balance between mellower and more rocking zones. The powerhouse fast paced jam about two-thirds of the way through really brings the prog angle to full fruition. I really love the use of violin on this. The thing just keeps expanding and growing and vocals eventually return.
Saint Iris
Nature sounds start this. A flute begs comparisons to Jethro Tull, as does the mellow opening movement that features it. The tune works out to a melodic rock zone from there, and the violin returns. Edgy folk rock merges with prog and psychedelia as this number continues.
A melodic prog rocker, this is another that has some definite folk rock elements. Parts of this make me think of The Strawbs, whilc others call to mind David Gilmour and Pink Floyd. The violin is again put to good use. There are some killer guitar fills in this, too.
Cricket Season
Folk music based sounds are in the driver's seat as this gets going. The flute and general arrangement again call to mind Jethro Tull in some ways. This might be mellower, but it's up-tempo and energized a lot of the time. This instrumental is classy.
Till Spirits Rise
A mellower movement that seems related to the previous piece starts things here. It grows with a still restrained, but really dramatic movement from there. I can make out hints of early Hawkwind on this gradually growing part of the tune. The vocals are part of that movement and really get inspired. The break from there takes into more of a Tull like section. The tune turns really soaring with some killer melodic prog from there. The violin again brings a lot of magic to the piece. There is an abrupt change from more acoustic sounds to electric guitar, and the cut takes on a psychedelic space rock vibe as it builds outward from there. This more rocking section eventually ends the song.
A metallic guitar starts this track. As it evolves there are Rush-like movements. There are comparisons to be made to Hawkwind, too. The vocals bring a hard rocking edge. This is fast-paced, meaty and so cool. This works out to more of a melodic guitar based prog section that has a soaring kind of building process to it. There are some pretty stellar vibes as it grows. Rush is a valid reference in some ways, but this has other things at play, too. A full metal jam ensues after that movement. There are definite comparisons to Hawkwind to be made as it works out from there.
Falling Snow
A mellow and intricate movement opens this. It gradually and slowly builds on that motif as the song continues. While it really does grow gradually, it gets quite powerful and soaring with some non-lyrical vocals and guitar riffing running over the top of the song. It eventually drops back to mellower zones, providing a nice bookended approach to the piece. Other than those non-lyrical voices, it's an instrumental number.
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