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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


A Brief Crack of Light

Review by Gary Hill

I remember associating these guys with Ozzfest (although looking back, I don’t think I ever saw them at that festival). For that reason I lumped them in as metal. There are some metal moments here, but that’s really far too limiting a musical label for this outfit. These guys are incredibly interesting and inventive. They challenge boundaries and genre reference points. For that reason, and some others, I’d call this progressive rock. Whatever you call it, though, this is a great disc that’s entertaining and unique. I love it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Living In The Shadow Of The Terrible Thing

They power it extremely heavy and after the introduction drop it down a bit to build it up for the vocals. The vocal arrangement is quite cool and this cut has a lot of intriguing sounds and shifts built into it. This is far from any kind of typical metal, but clearly fits as heavy metal. It’s a great way to start the set in style.

Plague Bell
There’s a really contagious rhythmic element here and the tune has some killer metal sounds in the mix. This thing gets pretty crazed later. There is almost a progressive rock vibe to this in a lot of ways.
Harmonics open this and hold it for a time and they fire out from there in more of the same nicely off-kilter metal we’ve heard on the first two songs. Again, this one borders on progressive rock. It’s got one of the cooler arrangements of the whole set, too.
Before You, With You, After You
Hard rocking and very tasty, there is almost a mysterious sound to this thing. It’s a real screaming monster that works really well. It’s clearly very progressive rock like in a lot of ways. There are some amazing bits here.
The Buzzing
A rather noisy cut, this is quite punk like, but also has plenty of progressive rock in the mix. It’s got some surf music at times and, as crazy as it is, I like it a lot. It’s definitely one of the weirdest things here. It’s also one of the coolest. It drops way down to vocals with very little backing and then comes back up with a rather techno-like arrangement that gives way to a surf meets modern King Crimson type of arrangement. There’s a cool heavy section later that has bits of Black Sabbath (or more accurately Sleep) in the mix.
Get Your Dead Hand Off My Shoulder
Weird space rock elements open this with an open, tentative arrangement. It powers out from there a little and the vocals come in over the top of a fairly sparse arrangement. As it builds out, I can swear I can make out hints of something like Oingo Boingo or Wall of Voodoo.
Ghost Trio
This is more melodic, but still pretty crazed in a lot of ways. It’s a hard rocker that’s very cool. I’m not sure this one fits under progressive rock, but it’s also not metal. It has some tasty atmosphere and hints of psychedelia. There’s an awesome jam later that brings some space rock to the table.
Why Turbulence
This one’s very heavy, and there’s a galloping kind of rhythmic element to a lot of it. Still, it’s got a lot of other sounds on hand. There are more of those heavy King Crimson elements, but there is also plenty of psychedelia in the mix. I’m also remind of Hawkwind at times here.
Stark Raving Sane
There’s definite psychedelia on the opening to this and in a lot of ways this makes me think of a more proggy King’s X. It’s got a lot of energy and the chorus is oddly catchy. The guitar solo section here is short, strange, but also tasty.
This is much mellower and I love the computerized, processed vocals, bringing a Kraftwerk vibe to the table. It’s rhythmic and stripped down and builds gradually. Those processed vocals serve as the chorus. There’s an almost spoken vocal line for the verse and in some ways I think of Camper Van Beethoven here. This stays slow and mellow throughout. While I’m not sure it was the best choice to close the set, it is a very cool piece of music and one of my favorites here.
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