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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Zan Zone


Review by Gary Hill

This is the second set from this act I've reviewed. When talking about that one I said that it was all over the place stylistically. The same is true of this one. I'd say that this could almost land under progressive rock, but ultimately I put it under non-prog. There are some tunes here that seem a little awkward at times, but overall it works pretty well throughout.

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Track by Track Review
Paean to the Muse
Intricate acoustic guitar starts this. Other instruments join after a bit. This instrumental has some dreamy, trippy layers over the top of it. It's a nice introduction to the disc.
One Step Left
A bit of a dramatic spacey introduction opens this cut. It powers out to more of a straight rocking sound from there. There is a cool retro rock vibe to it. The vocals remind me a bit of Neil Young in some ways. The cut has some jazz, space rock and more in the mix. The instrumental section leans toward progressive rock, and this cut gets into some powerful territory.
Ice Day
Starting in mellower modes, this builds out to more rocking ones after the first section. Somewhat crazed, but also very cool, I really like this cut a lot. It has a real epic sort of vibe, particularly when it drifts into strangeness mid-track and then is reborn.
Days of Our Lives
There is a folk rock element here. The cut has hints of country and bluegrass. References to Bob Dylan can be made in some ways. The tune gets pretty rocking at points. I love the fact that several singers contribute to the song. This is one of my favorites here.  The tune is bouncy and so interesting. It's rather epic both in scope and length. 
This number comes in mellower and dramatic. It builds out with style. It has some decidedly proggy moments. It's an instrumental with a great balance between mellower and more powered up sections.
Things That Make Me Cry
A pretty and balladic piece, this has some definite emotion packed into it. It's classy and has some good changes, getting a bit more powered up at times. There are hints of world music in this at times. The folk element is definite on the piece.
Only the Earth Endures
Dramatic rock sounds are on display here. The cut alternates between a more powered up mode and mellower ones. There are definitely more of those folk things on display here. The tune has an epic vibe to it. The song has a lot of variety built into it, and it gets into some seriously crazed stuff at times. There is some Native American singing at the end of this cut.
Bad Timing
Atmospherics start this. The cut works out from there with a world music based arrangement that has a bit of a blues rock edge to it. While this has some things I like about it, there is a bit an awkward side to it that doesn't really gel for me.
I Color Me Blue
There is a mellow jazzy groove built into this tune. It has such a cool groove and vibe to it. We even get treated to some vibe soloing in a real nod to that old-school jazz element. There is a bluegrass kind of thing that appears later in the track, too via a jam focused on violin (or should I say fiddle?). Some country leaning Americana takes over from there.
There is plenty of bluegrass on this number. It has an alternative pop sort of angle to it, too.
Learning How to Love
There is a dreamy kind of almost proggy angle to this cut. It has some soaring vibes and intriguing textures built into it. There is a bit of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to the lyrics.
Fly Away
More of a straight-ahead blues rocking sound begins this cut. The number builds outward from there. This is one of the most effective pieces here. It has some real drama built into it. It has a good balance between more rocking and mellower sounds, too. They actually take into a bit of "Up, Up and Away" late in the piece.
I'm On My Way
Amidst the sounds of conversation like a club, some bluesy guitar enters the picture. As it continues there is  weird kind of jazzy element that emerges. It seems to end, and a woman's voice says, "ah, lighten up, man." A more full jazz treatment emerges from there. This has such a playful vibe. I love the jazz guitar work that emerges later, and the vibes are cool, too.
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