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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rick Plester

Rick Plester

Review by Larry Toering

A genius he has been called, and after gracing the ears with this progressive work of art it's no secret why. This is an instrumental display of colossal proportions featuring Pete Holmes of former Geffen greats Black 'N Blue on drums and R.J. Killnger on bass. Rick Plester is from Toronto, and his talent oozes its brilliance all over this self titled debut solo outing.

His choice of musicians is outstanding, but he is clearly in charge of every last arrangement. Plester is a man of many talents and shows an array of them here as the writer/producer and arranger of this progfest of sheer menacing beauty.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Breezes Of Season

This is a nice way to open things, with some keyboard chords to set things up while Pete Holmes establishes a monster underlying groove.Plester's guitar playing is complex and full of various changes which immediately strike the listener as widely diverse. This is so well suited for its well descriptive title and keeps that vibe throughout.

Marching Into The Oblivion
A fat intro leads into a stuttering before the guitar and drums attack with a vicious bite. Plester gets a tad funky and one is clearly reminded of Joe Satriani but not before the originality sets in and some spiffy keyboard work is added. Lots of guitar/keyboard interplay spices things up and it's Plester's master display of virtuosity that allows him to take the track in any direction he wants whilst never losing sight of a thing.
Inner Sensation
Things go straight into a frenzy here with wild licks before a melodic display of interplay is placed in and out of the arrangement. Things slow down to a bluesy mid section that winds up a speed fest that would make anyone's head spin. “Complex” would be a mild way of putting this.
Soothing The Illusion
An almost deceiving intro lulls the listener before a bombastic blow of guitar work takes over and goes through more changes. It then shows down again, and this sort of back and forth is heard throughout this track. Big grooves and subtle melodies collide during the rocking roller coaster ride. Keyboard and drums play a big part in this cleverly arranged track. I detect meaning as they go through what sounds like a healing process after much pain is felt. This is quite an emotional number.
Entwined Within
Alright, now it gets way over the top on this track with Pete Holmes and R.J Killinger holding a gigantic groove together while Plester’s guitar does some of the craziest things I've ever heard. This carries an almost scary vibe. “Entwined Within” is one of the highlights of the disc for sure, and it is featured in the first of two high budget videos shot for this CD. There is simply no mistaking the level of talent at this point. Plester shows why he is revered by critics as a master instrumentalist.
The Quest
It only gets more complex here with Plester sounding as if he has one hand on the keyboard and two on the guitar. Pete Holmes lays down some thunder, as well, and the fun is maintained throughout this explosive track.
Angel Of Desire
Plester never loses a step to keep a tight thread going and this one continues to remind the ears of that. The concept is kept in tact and serves with much confidence and delight. A very descriptive title once again helps one keep the pieces together. This is simply a mind melter of a track with a soft and beautiful ending.
Battling The Beast
Yet another healing vibe is delivered here and one is taken on a soothing trip of intensity and wonder. This track would make any singer beg for a part, and I could easily imagine someone like James Hetfield of Metallica singing over this in the same way he does for them. Pete Holmes keeps the groove cracking once again here, and I feel that overall this CD easily features one of his best performances in the studio to date.
Burning In The Fire
Once again Plester makes great use of titling his tracks and one can easily imagine doing exactly that here, “Burning In The Fire.” With lightning quick guitar runs and solid fills this proves to be another highlight. Crazy meets subtlety half way here for one of the defining prog moments.
Searing intro guitar lines set up a spooky feeling that takes the disc out with a melancholy vibe that is just so easy on the ears that it begs for more. All that’s left to do once it's over is pop the CD back in and do it over again. A captivating hook helps make this yet another highlight.The whole thing is like one big attack on the senses, but don’t lose sight of its healing powers. A statement is made here and we're reminded  how lucky we all are to be alive.
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