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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Genre Peak

Your Sleekest Engine

Review by Gary Hill

I know this act is considered prog. Yes, the music does have a lot of ties to modern prog like Porcupine Tree. I’d have to say, though, it is probably at least as close to that stuff as they are to techno and house music. I’ve included this in the prog section because it’s the consensus and most of this stuff is at least somewhat prog. All that out of the way, though, whatever you call this, the album is a strong one, really. It features a number of guests, too, including Mick Karn, Jon Hassell and Charlie Woodward.

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Track by Track Review

Chimes, gongs, cow bells (you can’t go wrong with more cow bell) make up more than the first half minute of this. Atmospheric keyboard textures rise as the piece continues. It’s in the neighborhood of three-minutes through before the track turns beyond atmospherics to real melody. It has a symphonic meets electronic vibe when it does. It gradually gets a bit more energy and intensity as it slowly marches onward. Around the four and a half minute mark we get a more powered up and driving sound. It’s very much modern prog with electronic sound. The vocals come in over the top of this backdrop. I love the rubbery bass line that comes into the piece. Some of the soaring vocals later and particularly noteworthy, too.

Denizen Darklight
This is much more of industrial kind of piece. It’s sort of part Porcupine Tree and part Nine Inch Nails. The alternating contrast between the industrial sections and melodic, more proggy ones is classy. The guitar solo is hard-edged and classy.
I love the balance of electronic and organic textures on this piece. It’s really, in many ways, another that combines modern prog with industrial and techno elements. This is a fairly consistent and purely instrumental number.
God Fearing Men
There is definitely a Kraftwerk like edge to this. It has sort of a techno edge along with more the Porcupine Tree type sound. I’m not crazy about some of the vocals on this. Overall, this cut makes me think of a cross between a modern prog sound and something like Ben Folds. There is a rhythmic workout at the end.
American Civil Rage
Very percussive, this is a full on electronic tune. It’s more along the lines of Moby in a lot of ways than it is tied to progressive rock. The vocals are spoken soundbite clips. I like this one a lot, but if the whole album were like this, I probably wouldn’t put it under prog. It’s more like house music.
Fix Me Deeper

Electronic prog and techno meet here. This has a pretty intriguing percussion arrangement. There are some spoken parts (in another language). Some dark world music textures are heard on the piece, too. It’s interesting and quite effective.

First Born of the New Millennium
Rhythmic and techno in nature, the vocals here are spoken. This is a tale of cockroaches, quite literally.
Fix Me Deeper (Barbieri Mix)
The world music elements are driven even more in this techno styled remix of the earlier cut.
The Waiting Station
In a lot of ways, this is the most unusual piece here. It has a real jazz sort of vibe to it. It gets a parental advisory on the lyrics. There is a soulful element to some of the vocals. I love the multiple layers of vocals. The whole piece is a nice bit of variety. It’s quite cool, too. It still has more of the modern prog and techno elements. It’s just the balance gets a real bit of jazz included in it.
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