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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Steve Walsh


Review by Gary Hill

One of the more recognizable voices in '70's rock, Steve Walsh is both the most well-known voice of Kansas and their keyboardist. He is joined on this solo release by Trent Gardner (Explorer's Club), Virgil Donati (Planet X), Page Waldron, Jim Roberts, Mike Slamer and Billy Greer. Wayne Gardner, David Manion and Steve Browplow are listed as "additional musicians".

I was really expecting a prog release pretty much stuck in the '70's sound of Kansas. When I put this release on, however, I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, those sounds are present here, but the overall tone of the disc is very modern and fresh. This is really a great CD.

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Track by Track Review
Beginning with a modern, ambient sort of effects dominated tone, thie cut then becomes quite hard edged, almost Metallicaish. After this intro, a classically tinged segment takes over, becoming very cinematic in texture. It moves on expanding on each of these musical themes. The tune also includes a liad back break a bit like Santana or Surgarloaf with processed spoke word vocals overlaid. This track is a great surprise, coming across definitely progish and considerably fresh and unique.
Serious Wreckage
After a piano based balladic intro this one gets cinematically dramatic on the chorus. Lyrically this ballad is considerably strong. "One drink to remember, one more to forget, That serious wreckage." This is a tale of personal pain and loss, and is very emotional. The cut shifts gear later, becoming harder edged in a great prog groove for a time, then takes a Renaissanceish twist for a moment. It is a very poignant and dynamic composition.
Heart Attack
Electronic, funky sounds make up the early moment of this piece with a spoken rap over the top. The verse has a great vocal arrangement with some intriguing musical passages. This one really smokes. The arrangement is all over the place and includes some awesome instrumental passages.
A triumphant sounding, classically tinged prog intro drops to a laid back balladic mode in dramatic fashion. It jumps back up into the triumphant sounding style after a time, then just keeps growing by reworking its various segments.
With a bluesy sort of guitar sound on the intro, this is a slow and evocative cut. It has a slight country twang to it.
Haunted Man
With an almost playful tone, this is a good prog rock number. It gets more hard edged on the chorus, rocking out pretty well. It is another strong number on a very strong release.
Smackin' The Clowns
An electronic sort of intro starts this one. As the instruments enter, the tone becomes a bit Yesish. This is yet another powerful prog number that has lots of varying textures and riffs.
That's What Love's All About
A hard-edged rocker, this one is a bit like Styx or Foreigner. It features deep, low-ranged vocals.
Mascara Tears
A balladic cut a bit in the mode of Alan Parsons, this one feels a bit lounge lizardish at times. If there is a weak point on the album, this is it.
Symphonic textures begin this one, but it becomes a hard-edged prog ballad.
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