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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sleepwalker Sun

Sleepwalker Sun

Review by Gary Hill

Folks who like their progressive rock with some heavy metal in the mix will dig this album. The vocals are mostly female, but there are some male ones, too. The music is a nearly perfect marriage of metallic sounds with progressive rock. All in all, I’d lump this one under prog, but I could see people thinking of it as metal, too. Whatever you call it, though, it’s very strong.

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

Track by Track Review

Acoustic modes bring this in and there are classical elements added to the mix as it builds. Female vocals carry the melody with a rather old world air as some classical instrumentation works overhead. A metallic guitar rises up after the minute and a half mark, yet violin continues to play in the foreground and whispers are added. About a minute later it powers out to some very metallic music. Then they turn in some more classically tinged stuff. A serious anthemic metal jam comes after that, though. As this continues, they bring a lot more metal to the table but there are still prog elements all over it, from the instrumentation to the musical progressions. A little before the eight minute mark a false ending gives way to a very classically oriented piano section. Then it rises up with pure progressive rock laden with classical instrumentation from there. As it works out from there we get some fusion added to the mix. When it turns more straightforward the guitar soloing calls to mind David Gilmour. More metallic sounds return when the next vocals are heard. They drop it to a melodic movement with piano dominating, then some more melodic guitar soloing is heard. A metallic yet melodic movement ends the piece.

They bring this in more purely progressive rock oriented, but turn it a bit crunchier on the chorus. Some beautiful keyboard work is heard as they take back to the verse section. They continue alternating between more metallic and more pure progressive rock sounds as this moves down its musical road. There’s some great keyboard work on a killer instrumental section later. It’s intriguing how the more progressive rock oriented keyboards are laid over a rather metallic rhythm section. They twist and turn and bring the metal more to the fore at times and then the prog takes over. There’s a cool section later that’s seemingly influenced both by Rush and Dream Theater. Eventually we’re taken back to the song proper. There’s some tasty fusion bass playing on a more purely progressive rock section later. Piano takes it out with a classically influenced progression.
Sleepwalker Sun
Keyboards and bass bring this in with a dramatic and ominous texture. They take it to more metallic jamming from there, but drop it to proggier sounds for the verse. It builds out from there with the prog and metal nicely merged. This is one of the most intriguing cuts. It has a lot of metal in the mix, but they also create some of the coolest and most involved progressive rock jamming here. It’s also one of the most dynamic pieces with changes seeming to come across very frequently.
Dead Flowers
A piano based section opens this and holds it for the first vocals. Then it powers up to a metallic heavy prog movement. They continue this sort of alternating pattern as it moves forward. We get a section that has the prog and metal more seamlessly merged later. This is another strong cut, but there’s nothing weak here.
Russian Roulette
Weird keyboard type sounds open this and serve as the first part of the introduction. Then it powers out to something very much like old Rush for the rest of the intro. Eventually this drops back just a little for the first vocals. Later we get some of the album’s most metallic music as accompaniment for the male vocals. The bass line later really brings back that Rush element. There’s some more purely metallic guitar soloing beyond that. In a seemingly never ending sea of changes we get some very fusion oriented music with some killer keyboard work later. A classically influenced section signals a drop back for the next vocal section and this continues in more crunchy progressive rock fashion.
Jalen's Eyes
The keyboard introduction to this is decidedly classical in nature and strings add to that effect. The vocals come in over this backdrop as they continue. This never rises into metal (or even rock) territory. Instead, it maintains the classical elements, creating a pretty ballad.
Piano brings this in and holds it for a time. Then a metallic riff serves as the backdrop for some soundbites of arguing. A processed spoken voice is heard after that. Then we get some fusion-like guitar soling bringing it into more melodic territory. There’s a great Rush-like section later, but it drops way down to mellower progressive rock for the first vocals. When they turn it more metallic later some killer keyboard soloing makes sure it’s maintained as progressive rock. The general modes are continued as this builds, but there’s a smoking hot fusion jam later. The song continues changing and evolving from there, in a classic example of all the varying potential modes for metallic progressive rock. It’s another dynamic piece.
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