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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Telergy

The Exodus

Review by Gary Hill

This is a disc based on the book of “Exodus.” Just that knowledge makes this a concept album. Musically it is very theatrical with sections of dialog interspersed amongst the songs. At times it leans towards metal, at times in the vicinity of world music. All in all, though, it fits pretty well under the heading of “progressive rock,” and it might be argued that it’s a rock opera. Whatever you call it, it’s a cool disc with a lot of different sounds. I’m personally a little overwhelmed at the story itself, but if you look at it as literature, then it makes a bit more sense.

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
Into the Past

There’s a dialog introduction, with a grandmother telling her grandson about the record player they found. Then a record, old fashioned music, is played. It’s not until after the two minute mark that this moves out into the real song, as keyboards provide a dramatic and powerful build up that’s both beautiful and mysterious. Then past the two and a half minute mark it shifts towards the metallic as these guess pound out in a metallic progressive rock jam that’s got some symphonic overtones. This is amazing and the violin soloing adds a lot of style. Later it works out to a jazz motif to take it to the close.

Enslavement
The grandmother relates a story of the Jews being enslaved by the Egyptians to her grandson. I won’t get into the factual problems with this introduction or piece, but rather will direct listeners to the old testament of the Bible (or the “Torah,” as the Jews call it) for more of this story as it’s the only account of this particular enslavement. After this dialogue based introduction they power this out into some plodding, extremely metallic music. It works through a number of changes and if the whole album were like this it would fall under the heading of heavy metal. Even when the arrangement is this straightforward there are certainly symphonic and more proggy parts to it. There is a spoken vocal section on this, but overall it remains mostly instrumental. There is some killer soloing here and this does have a more proggy section later. When it turns mellower later and the violin again solos, the song certainly moves out of metallic territory.
Pleading
Those seeking to put this set under heavy metal will have trouble with this short piece. It starts with more of the dramatic treatment, but then turns quite classical in arrangement.
Plagues
An extremely extended cut (over fifteen minutes in length) the opening monologue talks about the plagues described in the same book as being set upon the Egyptians. Then mellow and dramatic music, closer to fusion like Jean-Luc Ponty or classical music opens it up. From there it gradually works out closer to that fusion style. Around the three minute mark the percussion rises up and the tune becomes rather funk driven as the bass guitar solos like crazy. Sound effects join as it modulates out to weird world music with a lot of mystery built into it. It feels a lot like soundtrack music here. It starts building from there. As it continues to grow it becomes very classical in nature. Before the ten minute mark it shifts to some seriously metallic progressive rock. This is really quite a powerhouse. The changes don’t cease, though, as it works out towards another soundtrack like section before shifting to melancholy classically tinged mellow sounds. Keyboards and violin dance around one another as it continues.  
Escape
This one combines metallic sounds with a symphonic, dramatic musical theme, after the obligatory spoken introductory piece. At times this feels like a more classically oriented version of Deep Purple. Non-lyrical chorale vocals bring another level of class to the table and there’s a screaming guitar solo. A number of changes ensue and this is a great piece of music that works between varying styles and melodies. Arguably it’s classical music with a hard rocking bent to it. There are operatic vocals later in the piece.
Pharaoh's Revenge
The dialogue opens this. Then it shifts to world music before powering out into more metallic prog. This is a screamer with a lot of style and melody to it, while still maintaining plenty of crunch. A section later where it shifts more towards pure (albeit technical) metal is particularly cool.
Wandering
The opening dialogue gives way to a pretty and intricate tune that’s very balladic in style. This is pure progressive rock, in the vein of the classically tinged, folk-oriented progressive rock of a lot of the 1970s prog groups.
Is There Anybody Out There?
This is a cover of the mellow Pink Floyd tune. It works quite well here with a spoken introduction by a boy’s voice. The arrangement is more classical than on the original, but the beauty and majesty remains intact.
The Golden Calf
This one comes in with a real classical music meets soundtrack and even some Gershwin like sounds. It’s dramatic, exotic and powerful, but also rather short.
Commandments
There’s a quick “listen to me” that opens this. It’s certainly supposed to be Moses. Then they fire out into some thrashy sounding metal. After a time (with some chorale vocals) it screams out to more metallic prog. This is technical, fast and scorching. There is a spoken, processed vocal part later in the piece that runs through the Ten Commandments. Further down the road we get some killer technical guitar soloing. There’s also a tasty keyboard solo later.
Canaan
More dialogue starts this one. Then it works out to a female voice delivering some lyrics in a foreign language. Her voice is exotic and beautiful, as is the melody. The music that accompanies it is atmospheric and adds to the effect. From there the jazz meets world music concept rises up and moves the song forward slowly. It turns more classical as it continues. It fires out to harder rocking music after that. Then it becomes a more symphonic version of epic metal. A number of changes ensue and this is a killer hard rocking jam that is (at over twelve minutes in length) one of the longest pieces here. It’s also one of the most effective. Around the ten minute mark it shifts to a melodic rock oriented movement that’s almost like a cross between the mellower side of Guns N Roses and Pink Floyd.
Avadim Hayinu
There’s an extended spoken section that opens this, then acoustic guitar rises up with an intricate classically oriented guitar solo that’s based in world music. It’s a classy way to end things in style.
 
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