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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Red Star Revolt

Red Star Revolt

Review by Gary Hill

This definitely isn’t your Father’s progressive rock. Nor is it the next Dream Theater. This group is probably closer to Radiohead, but that isn’t even in the same ball park. I can certainly see someone arguing that they aren’t progressive rock at all, but I’d disagree. That said, there are probably a couple songs where I would agree. This is interesting music, but not for everyone. It certainly isn’t something prog purists will flock to.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dementia
A cool keyboard intro makes you think you are about to launch out into a Hawkwind type piece. Instead they power out into a thrashy, punky sort of jam for the first vocals. This drops way down to a mellow, stripped down arrangement after a time. They work back out into the song proper and then launch out into a series of changes and alterations. A little before the three minute mark there’s a return to the Hawkwind-like sounds for a longer segment. After a time we are taken back into the song proper and carry on from there.
At Most Desire
A cool hard edged riff, feeling a bit like a more metallic Jethro Tull to me – starts this off and holds it for a time.  It is reworked into a new prog jam as they carry on. When it drops to the stripped down jam for the verse that riff again holds things down. This reminds me a bit of Dream Theater. We get a cool, almost alternative rock segment later with waves of textures dancing over the top as the bass swims below.
The Song Remains
Fast paced and bouncy, this comes in rather like something from Led Zeppelin’s third disc. Considering the title of the song the Zep influences are probably intended. Eventually they are capped off with a more typical type of sound from these guys. I love the fade in aspect of the vocals – kind of like the girl in the TV in Poltergeist. There’s an almost reggae feeling to this. This is without question one of the least proggy numbers on show here, but they still manage to include some more progressive rock oriented moments in the mix. I like the mellower section that comes in later. This again has a lot of Zeppelin in the mix. I also hear some Doors at times here and there’s definitely some Hawkwind in the mix on some of the spacier stuff. 
Prove Me Wrong
This is one of the least proggy pieces on show. It’s a hard rocking with a great rubbery groove, but not really progressive rock. 
fm (All or Nothing)
A dramatic and mysterious mellower segment starts this. They power out to harder rock as they carry on. From there they move it out to more pure neo-prog sounding section. This is one of the most dynamic pieces on show. They take it through a series of different sections, yet the drama seems ever present. The guitar solo on this is quite tasty. 
Sour
They fire out as a total alternative rock jam, but then drop back to this weird (but incredibly cool) psychedelia meets prog rock motif. This is alternated with the hard edged groove as they continue. This is an incredible piece of music and possibly my favorite on the CD. There’s a bit of a drum solo at the end. 
All She Could Have Been
Slow and melodic, this has a bluesy sort of texture to it. Keys come in and bring an almost Jellyfish like element to play. This eventually segues straight into the next number. 
Separation of Soul
With an atmospheric musical texture with sound effects over the top, this starts off like Pink Floyd. It eventually moves out to a crunchy neo-prog jam with a hint of The Cramps. Those who question these guys being prog should really check out this tune. It has all the elements of great neo-prog and seems to be constantly changing and altering. It’s another candidate for best of the disc. 
Thorns for June
This is an intricate and involved track that’s both psychedelic and prog. It’s essentially an acoustic guitar based track and parts of it definitely remind me of very early Hawkwind – think the first album. 
More Than It's Worth
Here’s another hard rocker that’s got a lot of neo-prog in the mix. This works through a number of changes and alterations and is pretty cool. 
Them
Combine a modern alternative rock sound with classic rock hooks and some cool psychedelic based proggy music and you’ve got a good idea of what this sounds like. There’s some exceptionally tasty guitar soloing on this one. 
Wired
This cruncher rocker isn’t very prog rock and it’s also just sort of average – at least for the first part. They take this out into some killer instrumental territory that’s more proggy. That section closes the piece in style.
Los Muertos
This instrumental is very much in the neo-prog mode, but it’s also incredibly cool. It moves from one section to another throughout and is both one of the most dynamic pieces here and one of the best. That makes it an excellent choice to close things.
 
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