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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dave Kilminster

Scarlet; The Director’s Cut

Review by Gary Hill

Somehow the title of this makes one think it’s going to be some kind of symphonic like soundtrack music. That’s not what we get at all. This is more an AOR based progressive rock sound. Considering that Kilminster has performed with the likes of Roger Waters and Keith Emerson, that makes a lot of sense. Whatever you call it, though, this is a great disc.

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
Silent Scream

There’s a gradual and dramatic building process on the extended introduction. Then it blasts out into some killer funk rock from there. The bass playing is particularly noteworthy on this, but everything is cool. It drops back mid-track then powers out into some great multilayered melodic progressive rock. This thing is quite an impressive track and a great way to start things off in style.

 

Static
A smoking hot guitar section gives way to another funk rock jam. This one feels a lot like fusion, but there is a bit of a King Crimson vibe and even some Spock’s Beard in the mix here, but that riff is plain cool fusion meets hard rock. It’s almost like Zeppelin jamming with a fusion band. There are parts here that make me think of Rush and a lot of other great stuff. There are some killer shifts and changes along this ride.
Just Crazy

Picked guitar opens this in a mellow way that provides stark contrast to what we’ve heard to this point. The vocals come in over the top of a mellower, rather jazzy, arrangement, making this feel like a ballad. It gets more energy and oomph as it continues later, but remains melodic. There’s an expansive instrumental section with a controlled, yet inspiring electric guitar solo. There is a spacey, atmospheric section at the end of the piece.

Angel
Slow moving and melodic, this song is dramatic and powerful. It’s also quite pretty and has some definite melodic prog stylings to it. It’s one of the coolest pieces here. When it gets a bit more powered up later there are some notable bass parts. Additionally, there are some moments that make think of Yes a bit.
Chance

Here we get a soulful number that has a lot of jazz in the mix. This might not be the proggiest thing here, but it’s very cool and a nice change of pace. There is even some scat singing in this and an energized acoustic guitar solo. There’s also a scorching hot electric guitar solo on the powered up outro.

Big Blue

After a short mellow section, this powers out into something that definitely makes me think of Trevor Rabin era Yes or even his band Rabbitt. There is almost a Police sound to this at points, particularly on the chorus.

Brightest Star
The acoustic guitar driven section that opens this somehow calls to mind Supertramp a bit. The acoustic modes remain for the first three minutes or so, without any real augmentation. It becomes more of a folk rock tune, though. Then the arrangements gets more layers added to it after that point and it’s symphonic in style in terms of the overlayers.
Liar
This number starts off with an energized and harder rocking sound, but drops back a bit for the verses. The choruses get a lot of energy, too. There’s some awesome jamming later that’s very much hard rock jam band meets prog, with perhaps a bit of Rush and space rock in the mix. There’s a more Joe Satriani like jam at the end of the piece.
Rain... (On Another Planet)

Mellow keyboards open this and hold it for a time. Then we get a balladic jam that somehow makes me think of a jazzy version of Boston. Around the five and a half minute mark, the cut gets more powerful progressive rock modes for a time before dropping back to the type of music that preceded that movement. Jam band meets fusion later for a time, taking it to the close.

Harkness

Piano opens this and classical strings rise up, making it feel mellow and melancholy. It builds out quite gradually and eventually turns into a rocking motif that has plenty of jam band and prog in the mix, along with some cool jazz and funk.

 

 
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