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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Points North

Road Less Traveled

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of fusion will really enjoy this instrumental album. Comparisons to the Dixie Dregs are certainly appropriate, but there are healthy doses of Rush and other acts in the influence list. This thing just plain rocks. It’s a great disc with a sound that varies from track to track and often within each song.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Vast Horizons

This powers in like a classic rocker, but turns more towards a Rush type sound almost immediately. There’s a fusion sort of vibe, too. In fact, this feels kind of like a cross between Rush and the Dixie Dregs. It goes through several changes. We get some smoking hot guitar soloing on this tune.

High Wire
The Dixie Dregs like fusion, with a more metallic crunch at times, really drives this thing. It’s almost like Dregs meets Pat Travers. There’s a mellower, almost bluesy section, but it fires back out into screaming fusion from there.
The Phoenix
Echoey and feedback laden, again Rush is a valid reference point, but with a lot of fusion in place, and the mellower side of Rush at that.
Grace Under Pressure
This one’s mellower in a lot of ways and more melodic. It’s definitely closer to the Dregs fusion type of sound.
Barney
The opening section of this is melodic and bouncy and really feels a lot like Rush. There’s another segment that alternates and takes into mellower and rather spacey jazz territory. It’s a good fusion number that bridges the two schools of sound. There’s a third portion that’s more adventurous and quite intriguing. A harder rocking movement later features some killer guitar work and they take it into a smoking hot fusion jam to close it.
Jubilee
Somehow there’s a vibe to this that reminds me of Sammy Hagar era Van Halen. Still, it’s got a lot of the Dregs in the mix, too. There’s also a harder rocking Rush-like section later in the piece.
Steve's Morsels
Somehow the guitar soloing on this (and the general vibe) remind me a lot of Steve Howe. Of course, The Dregs are also a constant influence here, too. This has some of the most amazing bass playing of the whole disc and really shreds a lot of the time. There is a Rush-like movement later, too, but it also turns towards Led Zeppelin. This has some classic riffing and smoking hot guitar soloing.
The Source
The mellowest introduction so far leads this one off. It’s melodic and accessible fusion that really works well. The guitar soloing is among the tastiest without being overtly flashy.
Delay Song
Here’s a track with a lot of spacey fusion built on a rocking backdrop. We get some particularly noteworthy melodic guitar soloing on this and it reminds me a lot of something Joe Satriani might do.
Maiden Voyage
Rush mixed with the Dregs is again a valid reference point here. They take it through a number of changes and there is at least one section that makes me think of a fusion oriented Thin Lizzy.
Sweet Solitude
The closer is more purely melodic and mellower than the rest of the disc. It’s got a lot of that Dregs vibe, but also a real Satriani or Vai element, too. It’s got some especially tasty guitar work. They take this thing through a lot of changes and alterations, but the general musical style remains fairly unchanged. There’s some killer bass work here and the end has more of that Rush sort of vibe.
 
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