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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lucas Lee

Sídrome de Estocolmo

Review by Gary Hill

Lucas Lee is such a consistent artist. He puts out quality album after quality album. This one might be his best to date. Lee's music is typically instrumental prog that's guitar heavy, but that's not a limiting factor by any means. There is quite a wide range demonstrated in his catalog. This runs along varying lines, but often intersects with things like modern King Crimson, fusion and more. Whatever you call it, it's a strong set from an artist that puts out strong music with each album.

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Track by Track Review
The Final Insurgence
Ambient tones bring this number into being. There are some bursts of piano chord as it works out in a creepy kind of space zone. As the piano begins to create more of a melodic motif, it's still sinister and dangerous sounding. This feels like it would be at home in the soundtrack to a horror film. The music builds outward with other instruments joining from there taking on a bit more of a "song" like structure. That sense of mystery and danger remains, though. Around the two-and-a-half-minute mark, it explodes into a jam that's part King Crimson and part fusion. It's powerful, driving and rocking. Around the four-minute mark it shifts to more melodic, but equally powerful progressive rock. More fusion is added into the mix at times, and this takes some strange twists and turns as it continues. There is a twist toward tastefully off-kilter fusion zones for a time. This piece really channels King Crimson-like freeform stylings as it keeps evolving. At over 12 minutes of music, this is the epic of the set, and that gives lot of room for exploration. It drops to a mellower section with some sound effects in the mix around ten-minutes in. That becomes a slow moving instrumental section that has some oddly enchanting and pretty sounds at the heart of it.
Power Trip Career Aspirations
This cut also starts rather mellow, but not quite as ambient as the opener did. It shifts to some almost metallic King Crimson like jamming from there. This shifts to an almost thrash turned Crimson jam further down the musical road. It gets really crazed. This keeps reinventing itself and evolving. It's a pretty insane and quite heavy prog jam.
Talking Points
A fast paced and rather odd sound brings this into being. The cut pounds out from there, building into an expansive and rather percussive fusion meets space kind of arrangement. This is a bit more melodic than some of the rest. It lands more in a traditional progressive zone, and even calls to mind Rick Wakeman's solo work at times. 
Dangerous Game of Escalations
The sounds of warfare are accentuated by a short spoken newscast type thing. Dramatic, but mellow music emerges with a pounding percussive element emerges as the newscast continue. The driving bass type sounds that emerge have a real driving, Tony Levin like vibe to them. The whole tune takes on a Bruford Levin Upper Extremities meets King Crimson vibe as it works outward. The newscasts continue here are there throughout the song. I love the keyboard jamming that comes over the top of the musical tapestry later. This piece is hard rocking, artistic and so cool. In fact, it's one of the highlights of the disc.
Where is the One
This has such a cool melodic prog sound to the first part of it. Keyboard layers bring comparisons to something like Synergy. There is some killer guitar work at times, too. The timing is unusual and very cool. There are twists into King Crimson-like zones that bring more dramatic jamming with them. The cut has so many twists and turns that it's a bit like multiple pieces assembled together into a suite. Yet, at just a little over six minutes, it's the shortest piece here.
Hollowing Defeat
The sounds of rain are joined by mellower, rather sad sounding music. Piano and guitar both paint melodic lines along the sonic creation. This has a great contrast between more powered up and mellower sounds. While it gets pretty heavy at times, it remains slower moving than some of the rest of the music here. There is a definite metal meets space edge to parts of this cut.
Inevitable Union of Contentious Factions
Heavy and rather spacey King Crimson-like jamming ensues on this number. The piece grows and evolves working through varying sections and changes. It gets noisy, heavy and crazed at times. I love the powerhouse movement around the six-minute mark. It's Crimson-like, but also unique. It's scorching hot, too.
Stockholm Syndrome Symptoms
I love the retro keyboard sounds on this number. The tune has some hints of funk, but also a lot of space rock. It's almost a fusion kind of jam in some ways. There is a cool section where a driving rhythm section holds it down while keyboards soar overhead. Then again, everything about this track is cool. I dig those funk elements. I also love the echoey space that's built into it. There is a mellower movement at the end to take it to effects that close the song and disc.
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