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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Charles Brown

A New Awakening

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental album is truly a solo release, with Charles Brown doing everything here. There is a decent range, and this lands well in the progressive rock zone. It's often guitar heavy, but there are other things going for it, too. This is a fine addition to Brown's catalog that should please those who have liked his previous music.

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Track by Track Review
The Darkest Winter
The opening of this makes me think of Pink Floyd to a small degree. As the number launches out from there it gets into some hard rock meets fusion territory. There is a drop back to mellower zones for a time later. We get a return to the modes that came before from there. That section holds the track until a fade-down ends it.
A New Awakening
This starts understated and grows outward from there. For some reason I'm remind of Trevor Rabin to some degree on this track. It's a proggy, hard rocking number that works well. It has drops back to mellower acoustic strumming, too. There are also some hints of jazz at play at times. In a bit of a contrast, there are some Steve Howe-like moments on this, too. I really dig the mellower modes that take it near the end to eventually close out the piece.
Dance of the Sun
Chirping guitar sounds get us going here. The track turns toward some of the hardest rocking music we've heard so far from there. It get a little jazzy as mellower textures emerge for a while. This keeps changing and evolving going from more rocking to a little less and back again. This is a killer piece.
Rock Solid
The guitar hero concepts are all over this and on fire as it gets going. There are some mellower moments, but this really rocks out more consistently than some of the others do.
Sea of Myst
A big contrast, this is acoustic driven, intricate and Spanish guitar based as it starts. It grows very gradually, staying quite mellow. Then around the half-way mark it threatens to turn more rock based. There is a bit of a Pink Floyd vibe in this new section. While it's electrified, it doesn't really rock out. It does intensify, though from there. We get a slow moving jam that is expressive and very much like David Gilmour's music. This is a classy piece that definitely brings variety to the proceedings. .
Edge of Time
The acoustic guitar sounds that are heard at the beginning of this remind me of Steve Howe. As it approaches the one-minute mark, the track is reinvented, working toward more hard rocking zones. This turns more melodic after a building process. It seems to be reaching upward as it continues from there. It gets quite intense and powerful as it evolves.
There is a definite jazzy groove to this thing. It grows outward as it continues, but it really does feel like fusion more than it does anything else.
Rain of Sorrow
Spacey, trippy keyboard textures get us going on this number. After that holds it for a time, it ends. A nearly metal guitar rocking sound takes its place as the piece drives out. This works through with some scorching hot jamming. The guitar soloing is positively on fire.
What the FUNK
Built with plenty of hard rocking sound in the mix, this is very much a fusion tune. Honestly, with that title, I was expecting something really funky. This has some minor hints of the sound, but I would definitely not call it "funky." There are some Allman Brothers leanings on a riff that shows up a couple times, though.
Walking the Edge
This is a very metallic rocker. In fact, the introduction on this reminds me of Turbo era Judas Priest. That said, there are also some very Yes-like moments. This works through some intriguing changes along the road.
Touch the Sunrise
An acoustic guitar melody with hints of other sound over the top is at the heart of this as the track gets underway. This is really essentially an acoustic guitar solo, and it does a good job of grounding the set at the end.
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