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Non-Prog CD Reviews


Wrestling Consciousness

Review by Gary Hill

This is the first release from the artist who just goes by the name of “Claudine.” Her biography says that she’s a pop rock artist with a lot of interest in classic rock. That seems about right. Her voice is great, and never an issue. The songwriting is good, but not overly original. The only real complaints are one track that’s completely immersed in modern club music and a couple of questionable choices in terms of album pacing/song arrangement. Claudine shows a lot of potential for greatness.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review

This rises gradually up from atmospheric tones. It fires out to a hard rocking jam that’s quite cool. It’s not quite metal, but not far from it. It’s a cool tune. The guitar solo, with its technical metal edge, is especially tasty.

All I Want
Although this still has some crunch, it’s far from the metal-like stylings shown on the opening piece. It’s a catchy number that’s very much a rock and roll type tune.
Bleeding Hearts
“Bleeding Hearts” still has some crunch in the bluesy guitar bits that come across, but overall it’s more melodic than either of the two openers. There’s a bit of a jazz edge in play and this song might be mellower than the first two, but it’s also a stronger and more unique piece in the eyes (or should I say “ears?”) of this reviewer.
In The Ruins
The keyboard sounds on the introduction here make it feel like it might be progressive rock. From there, though, it works out to a metal-tinged hard rock jam that’s very tasty.
Fallen Angel
A pretty and intricate acoustic guitar ballad motif makes up this piece. It’s nice, but a little overlong.
If I Ran To You
There are a lot more musical textures and instruments present on this tune, but it’s still a mellow ballad. There are definite bits of jazz and AOR present here. It’s a pretty cut that works better than the one that came before it. The multiple layers of vocals add a lot and it just has a lot of charm.
Here is the first mistake of the disc. This intricate and pretty acoustic guitar based ballad leans on the progressive rock side of the equation. The non-lyrical vocals are soaring and the musical textures are the most complex and among the most powerful of the set. This is really one of the coolest tracks on show. The mistake is putting it in this slot. After two ballads another rocking track would have set things up nicely for this. Sitting in this position it feels a bit like ‘more of the same.”
Don't Make A Sound
Here’s the rocker that should have had the previous slot on the disc. It’s got a modern hard rocking sound to it. It’s a bit generic and not one of my favorite tracks here, but it’s also a nice change of pace from three mellow cuts in a row. There is a cool, progressive rock oriented section mid-track that elevates it a bit, too. The multi-layered vocal arrangement is a nice touch, as well.
Here we get a straight ahead rocker. This isn’t especially unique, but it’s entertaining.
The Battle Rages On
A melodic pop-rock tune, this is another that’s not all the different from a lot of other music on the market, but it’s entertaining. It’s not a highlight of the set, but far from weak.
The pace and intensity is dropped down with a ballad that seems to be part modern pop rock, part jazz and part progressive rock. It’s a rather involved and powerful track.
Play Me
Starting mellower, this pounds out to hard rocking music. It’s one of the stronger cuts on show. That’s based on the strength of the performance rather than any kind of ground-breaking song-writing, though. Still, there are some interesting touches presented here.
Come On Over
Although this track represents a change, it’s also the second mistake of the set. It’s got a real club, modern pop sound to it that’s both generic and very artificial. This feels like some kind of a remix and is really quite trite and forgettable. If there’s a song to skip, it’s this one. It really feels like something that would be blasting out of the speakers at “da club,” and that means it’s utterly forgettable.
Here we get an acoustic guitar based, balladic number that’s pretty and a step back in the right direction. The lyrics here are far from the religious pleadings the title suggests. In fact, lyrically, this is the most interesting track on the set. The only problem here is that it goes on a bit too long without a lot of changes in terms of the musical identity. It feels redundant for that reason and that’s a shame because the lyrics are really worth seeing through.
I Will Learn
This melodic tune has some jazz built into it. Although interesting, it’s one that drags on a bit long. It also seems that a rocker would have served better as the closer.
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