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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Pilgrim's Journey

Review by Gary Hill

The first instrumental journey from Jeremy (Christian artist Jeremy Morris). This one is definitely in the classical tradition, leading one to think at times of Synergy, Genesis and classical music. It should be pleasing to fans of both prog and new age. It begins a journey that Morris continued on Celestial City.

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Track by Track Review
Always Will Return
Soft atmospheric keys wash over, then a melody line quickly ascends. This one becomes pretty and soothing. It begins building on the musical themes already presented, becoming more lush and powerful as it grows and adds layers. After roughly four minutes in this mode electric gutter sets out to retell this musical story in its own voice. Then the keys and guitar reach a happy medium, both sharing the song. Finally both elements stop for a time, and then a solitary keyboard line returns with only minor accompaniment to end the track much as it began.
Rivers of Life
Waves of keys create a backdrop, then a quick backwards snippet heralds in a picked guitar line. This element plays around a melody line accompanied at first only by keys, then by a tasteful solo. This mode dominates the composition for a time, then an almost playful keyboard texture takes over before all the sound does a fast fade away. A short silence is followed by a new melody and all instruments build gradually on that foundation for a time. The lead guitar becomes almost frantic at times. Eventually the cut drops back to the more sedate, still reworking this theme and gradually dropping it down to the conclusion.
Deep Sleep
This epic length number starts with dramatic effects and a build up to wind. Then an acoustic guitar based melody begins the song proper with that wind still overhead at first. Eventually the wind dissipates and other instruments enter, playing on the themes the guitar has brought forth. It builds on this mode for a time, different instruments and textures taking the charge. Then the wind returns and the song shifts gear to a new guitar melody. The building on that new theme is gentle at first, then as a new rhythm pattern emerges it seems to completely reinvent itself. Soon, a Starcastle-ish keyboard line overtakes everything for a while. The momentum stops, then the theme returns more powerfully and new variation on it begin to emerge. This works through to a conclusion that heralds in another movement. This one is both playful and a little dramatic as it carries forth. It eventually turns into a rather involved prog jam for a time, then crescendos and textural keyboard patterns take the piece. These begin to coalesce in gentle and soothing patterns. They later fade down before an intricate melody emerges. This builds to a final crescendo that ends the piece.
Gentle waves of keyboards, backwards tracked, wash in. The tune grows and builds, but all is backwards on this brief piece.
Final Warning
Neo-classical modes, but again backwards tracked, start this song. As other instruments enter, the composition becomes an electronic, fairly symphonic take on classical themes. Later it shifts to just electronics with atmospheric lines taking the intensity down to a false ending. Then, after a bit of silence, the return moving the cut back upwards and a highly dramatic, still backwards, section emerges. This feels quite lush at times. That ends then an angelic brief backward percussive effect closes out the track. This one is a bit odd, but quite cool.
Petter's Song
A pretty piano melody enters and builds in dramatic fashion here. This is a fairly concise, but poignant cut that is quite pretty. The piano maintains center stage throughout the majority of this one.
This is a rather playful acoustic guitar solo, quite folky in texture. It feels a bit Steve Howeish at times.
New Song
Pulsating tones begin this one, a stronger, more melody driven piece. This is more like a "song" than some of the other material on the disc and is rather accessible.
Valley of Vision
This short piece is full of energy and rather fun and bouncy. It is dominated by keyboards.
Second Return
At under a minute, this is a very brief reprise of themes from the opening track.
This starts off with effects laden keys. It presents a brief enticing keyboard driven melody that has substance.
Pilgrim's Journey
At over 25 minutes in length, this one qualifies as "epic". Waves of effects begin it, and eventually more melodic sounds emerge. The piece builds and expands this mode for a time before a quick flash of effects heralds in a new take on a similar melody, wind rushing over top. A bit like a nursery rhyme in texture, the cut moves through this then a pretty piano melody, wind present again, gains dominance. Morris expands and grows this for a while, then another new element, still more dramatic and based on piano emerges. It shows signs of just bursting forth, but never quite does, and indeed, tones a bit in the style of a lullaby eventually gain hold. Then a new progish ballad segment emerges, but eventually drops down to just keys, plotting out another pretty melody. After a while the track shifts gear to a more rock edged ensemble oriented number, building up on that mode for a time. It becomes very powerful and involved during this prog jam. This eventually ends and the earlier child's nursery rhyme themes return to take the cut to wind and a baby's cries, processed through effects. This gives way to a new adventure based on an acoustic guitar melody that emerges and meanders its way around. Then the other instruments join to rework and rebuild the theme. Morris works this one up over time to be quite potent, then drops it back to just acoustic guitar with washes of keys over top. He builds on this for a while until only keys and the wind carry forward. Then an almost sad melody emerges, mostly on piano. This presents the basis for his next exploration and expansion. It fades down to the wind and atmospheric keys. Then just the wind remains before keys come back in waves, then flowing back in triumphant and elegant fashion. He follows this patter through in another building mode, then a melody that feels a bit Genesisish emerges to take the cut for a time. Next a swirling mass of effects wrests control, giving way to a new melody line in another reinvention of the composition. Morris builds this one gradually for the for a time, than drops back down to piano dominance and those wind effects reemerge to herald in a new prog ensemble excursion. After working through this for a few minutes he drops back to dramatic emotional keys. These run through, the familiar themes re-enter and build once more to a satisfying disc ending crescendo.
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