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Great Wide Nothing

Hymns for Hungry Spirits, Vol. II

Review by Gary Hill

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this. Well, I have to tell you that this blend of classic prog with more modern angles including punky things, alternative rock and more definitely delivers. I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like this. Sure, there are references to familiar acts here, but the whole picture is unique. I'd also say that I'll be surprised if this doesn't make my "best of 2023" list. It's that good.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Blind Eye To A Burning House
After some effects a fast paced, hard-edged prog jam emerges to really get this thing going in style. This has some smoking hot keyboards at play. As we get into the vocal driven section it takes on some alternative rock angles. This is a real powerhouse. It works through several changes with those more purely progressive rock things returning.
The Portal And The Precipice
Drumming begins this. They launch out into another fast paced prog jam from there. At times this makes me think of Deep Purple just a little. This has such smoking hot up-tempo prog built into it. An instrumental break later is purely on fire with both classic and modern hard-edged progressive rock at its heart.
This piece starts with piano. The cut grows out from there feeling a bit like arena rock as it does. This thing gets some screaming hot nearly heavy metal sound added to the mix further down the road. This earns a parental advisory. That screamed, angry vocal section gets contrasted by a melodic prog arrangement with vocals that fit the theme. This track is a masterpiece of contrasts, resolutions and prog style.
With an arena rock sound, this has some hints of 80s music. It's also proggy. This is more like the "single" of the disc, the most accessible thing here. This eventually resolves to a keyboard and vocal movement to take it to its close.
To Find The Light, Part Two
Nearly twenty-minutes long, this is both the epic of the album, and half the length of it. Keyboards start the track. Killer hard edged prog jamming emerges after a time, making me think of Rush to some degree. The track continues to evolve and grow from there. The track gets into more melodic prog for a time from there. Explodes out into something that makes think of Dream Theater for a while. Then we get another Rushish movement. The arrangement strips back quite a bit for the entrance of the vocals. We're taken through some killer twists and turns as this evolves, really getting into some soaring prog zones. This seems like it might be ready to end around the half-way mark. Instead a dramatic, driving jam that reminds me just a little Holst's "Mars" takes control. They drive this onward and upward as they continue to evolve it. There are some smoking hot keyboard sounds that emerge over the top. Around the twelve-and-a-half minute mark, this shifts into a different direction. I love the bass work on this new section. It takes almost  a Rush meets Pink Floyd vibe as it keeps growing. The keyboards really create so much magic as they take greater control of this climbing, growing structure. There are some decidedly Yes-like moments as it gets ready to shift back to the vocal modes. The track continues with a less ambitious, but still unmistakably prog, concept for that singing. This really feels triumphant and powerful. There is a building mode that takes it beyond those vocals. That gives way to a fast-paced arrangement. When that ends, ambient keyboards take over from there. Keys hold it from there to the end of the album. 

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