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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


The Rules Have Changed

Review by Gary Hill

Once upon the time there was a band called 3. That band was Robert Berry, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer. Berry and Emerson were in the midst of writing music for a new 3 album when Emerson tragically ended his own life. Berry, as friend and musical partner of Emerson decided to carry on and finish the album they were working on together. He performs all the instruments and vocals on this set. It might be just Berry here, but the musical fingerprints of Emerson are all over this thing. It is prog power of the highest order, but still with an AOR edge. It is really a fitting tribute to the memory of a great musician, and (according to all who knew him) a genuinely nice man. I think he'd love this album. I know I do.

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Track by Track Review
One by One
A classically inspired piano solo starts this thing. It holds the track for a while. Then it works out to a powerful melodic prog number. This has a lot of emotion and beauty built into it. It also has some interesting shifts and turns.
Powerful Man
This rocking number feels very much like something that would have been at home in Emerson Lake and Powell's catalog, at least at the start. It drops to something a bit more like Asia for the verse. This has a real AOR prog sound to it. It has "hit single" written all over it - well at least if the music scene was still like it was in the late 70s and early 80s. Call it what you like, this is an effective and satisfying number.
The Rules Have Changed
Powerful and very classically driven, this is another AOR styled cut. It gets harder rocking as it drives forward. This has that same 80s arena prog texture to a large degree. I love the bass work on this thing. I love the guitar sound that rises up around the three-and-a-half minute mark. It's so powerful and inspiring. By around the five-minute mark this has exploded into some almost metallic jamming. It's still seriously keyboard oriented, but so fierce and heavy. There are some triumphant prog moments that take it beyond that.
Our Bond
A piano solo brings this into being. The vocals come in over the top of the arrangement as it moves forward. After the first verse synthesizer and more climb in with a burst of sound. That drops away, leaving the piano and vocal arrangement with some string sounds over the top. This gets so powerful. It is emotional. It features vocals in English along with some in Spanish, Italian or Latin. This is a mellower cut, but also a very potent one. It bursts out into classically inspired ELP like jamming after three-minute mark.
What You're Dreaming Now
Dramatic progressive rock swirls around as this opens. Some dramatic piano is heard as this thing drives upward. The tune really takes on that ELP texture as synthesizer pounds out. The tune has a hard rocking edge that is very classy.
Somebody's Watching
Fast paced AOR prog is the concept here. This is energetic and classy. It definitely has that ELP vibe. It has some seriously melodic vocal hooks, too. The keyboards sound so much like Emerson that at times it's almost scary.
This Letter
Acoustic guitar driven, this comes in as sort of folk rock tune with just that instrument and vocals. The cut shifts to world music inspired prog jamming after a while. This is a lot of fun. It's not my usual kind of thing, but it's hard to not get caught up in the excitement. There is some powerhouse keyboard soloing built into this beast, too.
Your Mark on the World
Ambient sounds start this off. The cut fires out into a powerhouse prog rock jam from there. It drops down just a bit for the entrance of the vocals, and the cut really drives forward in style. There is a powerhouse keyboard break that gives way to a short mellow interlude. Then it fires out into frantic prog jamming with an emphasis on the keyboards, often classical in nature. The number just keeps evolving from there. There is a mellower guitar based section for the next vocals. The cut fires back out into powerhouse prog jamming after that. This thing is such a powerful closing.
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