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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing disc that melds newer prog stylings (think Radiohead and Porcupine Tree) with modern King Crimson and older stuff like Kansas, Pink Floyd and Yes. It’s all done in a fashion that builds a cohesive and powerful disc that is moody and brilliant. It’s a great disc and sure to please fans of modern progressive rock, while also reaching out to the “old school” people.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
This instrumental, swirls and rolls with a very definite modern King Crimson feeling to it, but comparisons to Djam Karet are also warranted. It’s a powerhouse jam and a great way to start off the disc.
The first cut on the disc to feature vocals, to me those vocals bring in a King’s X kind of texture and there’s a stripped down element to much of this. There are sections that show off some of the same influences as we got on the first cut. They take us out into a killer modern Crimson-like descending section further down the road, too. There is some extremely powerful music in this.
Mantra: Eternal Spring of Life
There are elements of King Crimson (and actually quite a few of them) on this expansive cut, but I also hear plenty of Kansas and even Yes here. The vocals are perhaps closer to Yes and big chunks of instrumental music fall in there, too. This is one of the highlights of the CD.
Giving Tree
This one is pretty and gentle. There are still some Crimson hints here, but more like the first few albums and I can make out Radiohead and King’s X on this, too. 
Here we get a space rock instrumental. This is ambient and yet powerful. It’s got melody while remaining fairly textural. 
A Fraction of One
In many ways this continues the themes and concepts of the last cut, but moody vocals are added. This has a lot of Pink Floyd, but more Radiohead and Porcupine Tree in the midst. 
This is just a short little piece of weird jamming, noise music. It segues straight into the next one. 
Starting with George W. Bush addressing the potential for peaceful coexistence between humans and fish, this moves out into a jam band meets King Crimson and Djam Karet sound. Other spoken word bits discuss “known knowns” and “known unknowns.” This takes us right into the next cut.
The Great Pain
This one reminds of modern King Crimson’s take on the blues. It’s definitely Crimsonoid, but there is also a definite blues element – think of KC’s “ProzaKC Blues.”
The Monkey's Paw
Now here’s a change of pace. This is a hard rocking little number that’s got a bit of that same KC feeling to it, but with a more punk rock element, too. I can hear bits of Darkest of the Hillside Thickets amongst this. There’s definitely some Blue Cheer here, too. 
Coda: Pentacle
Delicate and gentle there is a bit (if a twisted) element to this. It’s pretty and proggy yet feels like it could also be music to a horror film. It gets fairly heavy and quite involved before they close it. 
This epic spans across four tracks of the CD – so I’ll address each of them separately. 
Churn – Overture
About a minute and a half in length, this introductory section is instrumental and quite classical in nature.
Churn – Part i
They fire out here with a Radiohead meets Pink Floyd element. The rhythm section pokes and prods this along. There is also a bit of a Rush-like jam on this later. 
Churn – Part ii
While the rest of the movements are less than three minutes in length each, this one is nearly seven minutes long. An uber funky bass brings it in but they shift it out to spacey weirdness from there. It works through a number of varying moods and modes and this is spacey and yet so cool. 
Churn – Part iii
They come out into this closing section with an almost catchy mainstream rock texture. The Radiohead concepts are certainly worth mentioning here. It’s an instrumental and brings us a nice resolution to the epic.
Starting sedate and pretty, this moves out into Kraftwerk-like electronica. Then a guitar god solo comes over this bringing a whole different game to the table.
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