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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Charles Brown

Explorer of Life

Review by Gary Hill

Charles Brown never fails to deliver some classy music. This fully instrumental album has a real focus on guitar oriented AOR prog rock. It never feels redundant or tired. That can be hard to pull off with a set of instrumental music. This is a great addition to Brown's growing catalog.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Explorer of Life

A cool melodic prog jam opens this. The cut grows outward from there getting a bit more rocking as it continues. This instrumental evolves, but remains fairly constant at the same time until it drops way down around the two-minute mark. Then it fires up into something that feels a bit like technical metal before resolving out to the earlier more melodic movement to continue.

Parallel Journey

Coming in melodic, this thing fires out to some seriously hard rocking stuff. It's part metal and part fusion. There is a drop back to mellower stuff mid-track. Then it fires back out into some fierce jamming from that point.

Ecliptic Voyage

Melodic prog opens this and the cut gets into some rather spacey territory as it moves forward.  It works to more hard rocking AOR territory as it continues later.

New Horizon

Coming in mellower and rather understated, this grows out to something a bit harder rocking. There is some great instrumental work on this number. Of course, you can say that about anything here, really.

Prelude from Cello Suite, #1

This is an acoustic guitar solo that's quite classical in nature. I suppose you can get that from the title, though. This is solid stuff and a nice addition to the album. It provides some variety.

Above the Mist

The opening section here reminds me of a proggier version of acoustic Led Zeppelin type stuff. The track grows from there in fine fashion. This never really rises up beyond that, instead maintaining a cool mellower approach throughout.

Wind of Darkness

Rising up gradually, I love some of the keyboards on this thing. It eventually powers out to some soaring, powerful prog. It's electrified and electric in terms of its scope and reach.

The Darkest Night
I really dig the AOR prog power of this stomper. It has some particularly potent guitar soloing and really works well.
Spectral Voyage

There is a melodic introductory section that's about a minute and a half long. Then the cut gets more "oomph" and power added to the mix as it carries forward. This has a bit more of a straight rock and roll vibe to it.

When the Sun Rises

Another mellower cut, has some space rock elements at play. The interplay between acoustic guitar and keyboards is nice. There are things here that make me think of Captain Beyond just a bit.

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