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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Yuka and Chronoship

The 3rd Planetary Chronicles

Review by Gary Hill

This is very much traditional progressive rock. Sure, there are some bits of world music, fusion and space rock here. Overall, though, it lands in the general neighborhood of symphonic prog, old school style. It’s mostly instrumental. That said, two songs have actual vocals and several others have non-lyrical ones. It’s quite a cool ride start to finish, really.

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Track by Track Review
Birth of the Earth – Collision

This opening instrumental is mellow and rather classical in nature. It reminds me of Synergy in a lot of ways.

Stone Age
Sounds similar to the opening piece start this. It works out from there into more rocking territory gradually. There are definitely hints of fusion. It powers up to some killer symphonic prog. After the minute and a half mark it works out to an expansive prog jam that’s quite soaring in some ways. It does get mellower in a drop back, though. This is quite a dynamic and dramatic piece. It has some non-lyrical vocals that almost make me think of Renaissance. By around the five and a half minute mark it turns a corner to a jam that does make me think of the rocking side of Renaissance in some ways. Fusion dances over the top of that arrangement as it continues. I love the keyboard soloing that ensues. It works back to the earlier sections from there, though.
Galileo I - and Yet It Moves (E Pur Si Muove) –
This is very much classically oriented progressive music. It’s both modern and classic. It works through a number of changes. It only really rises to the level of rock music in the closing crescendo.
Galileo II - Copernican Theory
The piano that drives the start of this is both dramatic and pretty in its fast paced melody lines. As this grows up from there it resembles Yes in some ways. This is a much more rocking piece of music than the previous one was. This has more of those non-lyrical vocals at times. In a lot of ways this piece makes me think of Glass Hammer.
Birth of the Earth – Merger
This short piece has a real electronic prog element to it.
Age of Steam
This is a two part piece, with the first part titled “Pastoral Gardens” and the second “Machine City.” Acoustic guitar melodies start this, and the cut emerges over this type of framework. It’s organic and powerful as it grows. This gets the first lyrical vocals of the whole album. At different times this seems to channel acts from Renaissance to Yes and Glass Hammer, but it’s also unique. It’s quite a pretty and dynamic piece of music. There is a harder rocking movement that calls to mind a proggier Deep Purple. This is an extensive and complex piece of music. It works out mid-track to a jam that makes me think of ELP. A hard edged guitar brings the second movement in with a real fusion element. The piece begins a series of transformations from there. It’s another great prog rock jam. There are things that call to mind Yes, while there are moments that are closer to Yes. There are even a few things that make me think of Pink Floyd just a little.
Wright Flyer 1903
Hard edged guitar soloing starts us off here. References to Pink Floyd wouldn’t be out of the question. When other instruments join after a quick soundbite, it has those Floyd elements merged with a more fusion-like sound. The piece continues to shift and grow from there. More of those non-lyrical vocals come over the top as the cut works toward soaring prog territory later. It drops to a mellower, intricate segment around the four minute mark. A harder rocking jam further down the musical road brings some psychedelia to the table. It continues to shift and evolve from there, eventually working back out to some sounds that aren’t far removed from Renaissance.
On the Radio
Piano dances as soundbites from a radio are heard. The piano remains after the soundbites are gone. Non-lyrical, ethereal vocals emerge.
Birth of the Earth - Magma Ocean
Seeming to come out of the previous piece, stabs of keyboards feel almost like sonar. Other instrumentation emerges over the top. Eventually rocking guitar joins and moves the composition forward from there. That also ends it.
E = C#M
Soaring, spacey prog opens this. A fast paced jam that makes me think of Yes emerges from there. The song continues shifting and changing. There are more non-lyrical vocals. This has a lot of energy and is also electronic and reaching for the sky. There is some crunchy guitar creating fusion-like elements later in the number.
I Am Thee (Awakening of Cloneroid)
Space rock merges with symphonic prog on this powerful piece. Around the three and a half minute mark, a fast paced harder rocking movement emerges. It’s sort of part Yes and part Renaissance. It has more lyrical vocals. There are some awesome shifts as this continues. I love some of the melodic guitar work a lot. There is also a harder rocking, fusion-like guitar solo.
Birth of the Earth - Embryonic Planet
Classical piano starts this. It holds the piece for a time, but changes in its tone and melodic structure. It seems to hint that more is to come as it plays dramatically. Then the rest of the instruments join in an energetic hard rocking jam from there. Non-lyrical vocals are heard over the top of the arrangement as this pounds forward. Then it drops back to just the piano after the one minute mark. A new melody emerges from there, this one a gentle sound. It isn’t just the keyboards, though. Some world music and other things emerge. Then the piece pounds back out to the harder rocking prog territory. By around the four and a half minute mark, it drops to a mellow movement for a time. Then some scorching hot rock guitar screams upward from there. It continues to evolve after that, revisiting areas where it’s been before, but exploring those vistas in new ways. It drops back to the keyboards near the end and that instrument carries it alone, ending it in much the same way as it began.
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