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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Forever Twelve

Talking Forever

Review by Gary Hill

The lead vocals on this album are of the female variety. Now that John Baker is the lead singer in this outfit, that’s going to change for their upcoming album. Let’s hope they keep a lot of the rest of it the same, though because this album presents some great modern progressive rock. It seems to have a clear hold on classic prog stylings, while also bringing fusion and other elements to the table. It’s quite an entertaining set, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
To the Hill

This opens in very symphonic ways. It works out from there into something more like classic progressive rock. After a short vocal driven section, with some rather weird spoken vocals, we’re taken to a jam that combines that old school prog sound with a lot of fusion. Some tasty guitar soloing ensues over the top of the beast. After this extended instrumental section, the cut works out to a soaring vocal segment, this time with female vocals. The instrumental section beyond that feels a lot like Yes. Then we get a return to that same female vocal driven sound and the cut continues to evolve. The various musical concepts, other than the symphonic one that opened it, all come back in different forms as this continues to work through and evolve and change.

Vanishing Us
Keyboards play over the top as this fires out into a fast paced and a bit more mainstream based progressive rock jam. It seems a bit like Kansas meets Yes. Then a little past the one minute mark it drops to just piano and vocals to continue. The cut evolves and works out from there and has some moments that seem a bit like mid-period Genesis. There are definitely some keyboard bits that sound similar to that concept. Of course, the vocals bring the name “Renaissance” to the lips.
Taking Forever

The section that opens this makes me think a lot of Yes’ “Silent Talking.” It has a rhythm section that really feels like that, but the keyboards soloing over the top set this up beyond that. Some of the guitar soloing that ensues also calls to mind Steve Howe. There is some tasty keyboard soloing later, too. There is an awesome mellower version that enters later and takes it in new directions. Further down the road there are some symphonic nods and some inspired and powerful musical motifs that emerge.

Nanda Devi

The mellow and delicate modes that open this call to mind Renaissance, the band. The vocals reinforce that comparison. While this piece also moves through several changes and moods, it tends to remain a bit mellower than some of the other songs here do. It sort of becomes the progressive rock version of a power ballad.

Vita Decessus

Spock’s Beard meets Yes and Genesis on the opening segment of this cut, and we’re off from there. They take it through some unusual twists and turns, at times moving towards fusion and RIO. Then, a little before the two minute mark, it drops to some particularly mellow sounds. It gets into some rather symphonic mellow prog before shifting to Genesis meets fusion stylings to continue. A killer jam, led by keyboards, takes it out from there. This piece has some non-lyrical vocals, but basically is an instrumental and an expansive and smoking hot one at that.

Wake Up

Rush seemingly meets Yes as this opens up and it moves out from there with both male and female vocals heard in the mix. It turns towards a number of changes and different modes as it continues. At times it shifts towards more jazzy RIO sounds. At other points, guitar leads it into more guitar driven rock stylings. Weird spacey effects eventually segue this, with the sound of an alarm clock, into the next piece.

With You

Mellow and dramatic, this works out in a dramatic and slow moving fashion. As the piece continues, that mellower section is counter-pointed with a more energetic progressive rock jam. There are definitely Yes-like moments later in the track’s evolution.

Existence

This comes in with a style that really feels like a cross between Yes and Renaissance. It’s another killer prog tune and has a great rhythm section, but not at the expense of the melody. I like this one a lot. In fact, it might be my favorite tune here. There’s some bouncing sound later that seems perhaps closer to Genesis. In fact, as that builds out that Genesis link is even more apparent. There are some great musical moments as that section gets more hard rocking sounds built into it later.

Fine Glass

A keyboard driven movement opens this with waves of sound. Genesis and Yes are both valid reference points. This works through several changes and alterations after the other instrumentation joins. There are fusion elements along with other sounds. It drops down to mellower territory around the two minute mark and piano and other keyboard instruments drive as it continues. The sound gets rather symphonic and theatric from there. We get some killer guitar based music later in the number and this is energetic and quite tasty. It’s also an instrumental. It is quite dynamic and quite powerful. The bass really drives some sections of this like crazy. All in all, it’s quite a potent jam and a great way to end the set.     

 
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