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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Colorstone

Into the Garden...

Review by Gary Hill

Sometimes less is more. Such is the case here. This album powers in with a heavy kind of metallic sound that borders somewhere between psychedelia, heavy metal and power pop, with hints of things as diverse as alternative rock, prog and jazz in the mix. It starts off very strong and really, for the most part all the songs are quite potent. The only real problem is that after a while it gets to be too much of the same thing. So, if one were to take a few songs at a time, this is great. But when trying to sit through the album, it starts to get a little tedious. If they’d pulled two or three songs off (there are 17 here), it would have made for a stronger album. Still, it’s pretty darned good, either way.

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
Into The Garden Of Destruction

This beast powers in very heavy, but also not metallic. As the vocals come in over the top it feels kind of like a hard-edged progressive rock sound. Yes, there’s metal and industrial built into this beast, but the hooks are exceptionally catchy and this is just plain cool. The guitar solo on this, loaded with processing, is very meaty.

Silverspoon
This rises up with a sound that’s like a modern take on classic heavy metal sounds. I wouldn’t quite call this metal, but more like metallic power-pop.
Intoxicated
Harmonica opens this and, as one might expect, there’s some bluesy sound built into this beast. It’s also got something like a Stone Temple Pilots kind of sound in some ways. There are also hints of jazz and power pop. Whatever you call it, though, it’s another killer rock tune that’s very accessible.
Show Me All the Way
This doesn’t rock nearly as hard as the previous tunes. It’s quite accessible, though. It’s basically a straightforward power pop tune. There’s a lot of energy to this and it has some hints of psychedelia here and there.
Flowing
This one’s even mellower, basically a ballad. There’s a bit of a mysterious tone to this and there are hints of progressive rock and even some jazz. I particularly enjoy the melodic guitar solo on this tune.
One of a Kind
A straightforward rocker, this one’s almost heavy metal. It’s the hardest edged thing so far, but there is still a catchy hook and we get some little bits of stylish jamming to keep it out of pure metal. There are definitely some proggy touches later in the piece. This also includes some Hendrix-like guitar soloing.
Find Myself
This reminds me a bit of something from the harder edge of Kiss, at least on the opening riff. They drop it back to a more stripped down sound for the verse. This is a real killer and that riff is classic.
Truly Mine
This one is just more pure modern pop rock in nature. It’s got some good hooks and changes and is quite accessible. The layered vocals are nice, too.
How Do You Feel
Although this comes in mellow, the vocal delivery is passionate and powerful. The musical sound is balladic, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of “oomph” here because there is. It does get powered up for the choruses, in typical power ballad fashion.
To Be Someone
There are heavy elements at play, but overall this is a catchy modern pop rocker that’s very cool.
Soul Generator
Here we get a tasty slab of soulful rock and roll. It’s a high energy romp that’s very cool.
Sometimes Down Is the Only Way Up
Acoustic guitar based, this is a balladic number that’s very much progressive rock. It’s a great tune and a great change of pace. Very late in the tune it powers out to a harder rocking jam with electric guitars. They bring it back to the mellower sounds late in the cut.
Good Life
Built on a soulful rock groove, this is another catchy number that’s very cool.
Someone Else
While this isn’t all that special, it’s a good tune that works reasonably well. There are a few changes here, but this might be a case where less is more because by this point, it’s all starting to sound a little too similar.
Tonight’s The Night
Now, this one’s much cooler. There’s a rubbery kind of psychedelic vibe to it. The first guitar solo is also particularly noteworthy.
The Secret
Here we get a mellower tune, but it’s not really a ballad. It’s slow, but sort of a modern pop rock tune within that vein. It’s another that might have been better left off. The vocal performance has some shining moments, but otherwise this is just a little lackluster.

 

Solitude Waiting
And, here we have another piece that’s more of the same. Perhaps if this weren’t at the end of a very long disc with a lot of similar music, this would seem stronger. As it is, it’s just kind of redundant and a little boring. Overall, it’s a melodic pop rock tune. The guitar solo section later in the tune is a good one, though and one valid point of interest in the piece.
 
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