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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kong

Merchants of Air

Review by Gary Hill

Some of this music is exceptionally electronic. Other parts are quite heavy, and almost metallic. There’s really a lot of cool music here. It’s not quite like anything you are likely to have heard before, yet there will be moments that seem familiar.

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
El Pilar

A bit of a droning electronic sound gives way to something a bit like metal, a bit like Led Zeppelin and seriously rocking, yet really prog at the same time. I can definitely hear some Rush in the mix on this thing. There are a lot of cool changes and alterations as this pounds down the road.

Astral Calls
This comes in mellow and atmospheric. Then, before it really pounds out again, we get some threats in the form of Eastern tinged electronic music. Once it does pound out, it’s a bit like a prog version of techno music.
Steamtrucking

Heavy, yet quite proggy, this thing powers through like some kind of high tech freight train on a mission to Mars.

The Gates of Exception

Dark, heavy and spacey, this is a killer tune that rocks out like crazy. Yet, there is plenty of progressive rock and space rock in the mix. There are also moments that seem to have some Nirvana (Kurt Cobain’s outfit, not the 1960s psychedelic group) influence. Yet, some other sections seem like a techno version Booker T. and the MGs. There’s also plenty of Rush here.

Same Meaning Different Worlds

This starts of tentatively and remains mellow, with sort of an electronic space rock vibe for quite sometime. That said, the rise up is gradual and almost immediate. It’s just that it doesn’t jump out of the gate as any kind of powerhouse. Even when it does get harder rocking, for a something akin to power rock, nearing metal, it only lasts for a short time and they bring it back down to the mellower territory to continue. Still, there is another harder rocking segment that feels a bit like Rush.

Wahnsinn, Baby

This stomper is a bit like Rush meets King Crimson in hard edged space rock heaven.

Stug

Angular and hard rocking, this is another killer tune. It’s not that different in tone or style than the majority of the stuff here, but is still unique. It’s, in some ways, more metallic than anything else here. The thing is, it drifts into some of the mellowest progressive rock present here later. It does power back up after that and work through a change or two after that.

Vapour Lock

Clearly modern King Crimson and something like Djam Karet merge on this number. It’s pretty heavy at times. It’s not a clear or straightforward journey, but one well worth undertaking.

No Strings Attached

There’s a killer groove to this jam that feels a lot like metal, but with some smoking hot space rock in the mix. Rush is clearly in the tool box for this number.

Blue Couch

This one’s OK, but the riff that drives it gets a little old before it’s over. It’s a bit too much of “more of the same,” too.

Back Into the Trees

Mellow and a bit weird, there are spoken vocals here. This reminds me a lot of Primus because it’s got that same weirdness and the bass really drives it. This is cool and a good change, but it seems to drag on a bit too long. There is some cool bass work, though and some nice crunch guitar later in the piece. Later parts of the tune have some more sung vocals, making this the only tune that’s not an instrumental.

 
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