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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Celestial City

Review by Gary Hill

Created as a sequel to Jeremy's Pilgrim's Journey album, this one continues the story line that is told on that one. As to the listening, this is more instrumental prog based on Christian themes. There is more variety to the elements here as seems to be becoming more adept at creating varying soundscapes.

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Track by Track Review
Anthemic, triumphant prog modes are the basis for this cut.
This is based more on washing, comforting waves of sound and feels rather Hawkwindish. It focuses on calming melodies.
Invisible War
Waves of sounds wash over, then a pretty, quieter melody takes the piece for a time. More elements begin building dramatically over top. At one point sounds like whale song wander over top. Then new keyboard stylings rather like a cross between Yes and Starcastle take the fore. Then an all new, almost neo classical progression emerges and runs through. It ends leaving atmospheric waves of sound in its wake and a new, sedate melody emerges. This begins a building process, then the composition takes a dramatic turn toward the neo-classical. It gets quite cool and involved as it progresses. Eventually electric guitar begins weaving lines of sound over top. Then the cut drops back to just a repetitive, almost percussive keyboard sound. Next, waves of keyboard textures come over top, and the droning element goes away. As it builds on its new theme in pretty, atmospheric tones, Hawkwindish elements emerge. Eventually the track breaks into a new proggy line and starts a fresh building from there. This winds through for a time, then slows to a stop to be replaced by more Hawkesque waves of keyboards. This then drops becoming more and more gentle, then a new melody slowly emerges, then quickly ends with sound effects.
This brief number is presented with the majority, if not all of it, recorded backwards. The effect is slightly disquieting and quite cool.
Another short one, this is a rather pretty piece and actually covers a good amount of territory in just over two minutes.
This one begins with percussion, then keys usher in mellow waves of sound. Hawkwindish elements show up here, and the cut begins a gradual building. This one really does feel a lot like something from the proggier era of Hawkwind and gets rather powerful.
Sand in the Sun
This short multi-layered acoustic guitar solo feels a bit like some of the more playful of Steve Howe's catalog.
Laser Love
This comes in with a frantic electronic sounding percussion line that feels slightly off time somehow. Waves of keys rush over top and begin working and reworking a melody line. It gets rather intense at times as various instruments and keyboard voices join the fray. The composition eventually drops to a new balladic element that feels a lot like Alan Parsons. This makes for a nice change of pace and an opportunity for Morris to begin a new form of building. This one is based around the guitar, which seriously screams at times. It gets quite powerful in points.
Appropriately this one envelops you in comforting from the start, but this beginning segment tends to feel a bit too syrupy for this reviewer's tastes. It eventually changes over to a more dramatic, mysterious sounding segment that works quite well. Another metamorphosis later pulls the cut into a jazzy jam, then a new strong prog excursion makes its presence known. It winds through that, then drops to a more spare arena to take it to the actual ending segment which calls to mind Yes' "Soon" section of "Gates of Delirium".
This one comes in dramatic and is another where Jeremy features a lot of backwards tracking. It has a familiar ring to it somehow and is rather fun. A new patent segment late in the brief track brings in a new dimension.
Hour Glass
This acoustic dominated cut calls to mind "Classical Gas" just a bit. Jeremy shows a work of brilliance in his keyboard textures and by adding the haunting vocals of April Morris. Those elements truly elevate this one.
King's Court
This short acoustic guitar excursion feels suitably medieval.
The Door
A cut of epic proportions, this one is very dynamic. Gentle keys start us on our journey, then Morris begins gradually building on this basis, adding layers and instruments to slowly ramp up the power and majesty. After a time the cut changes gear to powerful, somewhat mysterious tones. A new, mellower movement takes it for a time, but not for long as the cut quickly turns into a playful fast paced jam before winding back down to more thoughtful territory. Another all-new element eventually emerges. This one keeps rearranging and reforming then eventually fades away to be replaced by keys that feel a little Floydish at times. The next melody to emerge is a playful one that is dominated by guitar. This runs through, then gives way to a resolution movement. Rather then signal the end of the piece, though, this heralds another new keyboard segment. This movement, after some reworking, serves as the outro.
Waves of sound create an almost eerie effect for this short, somewhat ominous track.
Celestial City
Seeming to serve as a contrast to the last piece, this keyboard excursion is light-hearted and gentle. It does get rather intricate at times, though.
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