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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Delusion Squared

Delusion Squared II

Review by Gary Hill

The debut Delusion Squared disc was strong, but this surpasses it. The same general musical concepts are here, but delivered with an added maturity and power. This is arguably a better fit for fans of modern progressive rock than old school prog purists, but both camps should find some things to enjoy here. If you liked the first one, pick this one up. You’ll be pleased. If you haven’t heard them before, this would be a great place to start.

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
Double Vision

What an awesome ride this is! Atmospheric elements and sound effects start it off and hold it for a short time. Then an intricate acoustic guitar based melody takes over the game. A little before the one minute mark it powers out to harder coking prog. This serves as the backdrop for some instrumental action before the vocals enter. It becomes an AOR styled progressive rock jam that follows a straight line, but manages to veer to the side here and there.

Necrogenesis
Effects begin this, then some keyboards that sound very much like a horn section join. A punk meets prog jam takes over and holds it for the first minute and a half or so. Then it works through several changes before it turns to something like modern epic metal with more progressive rock in the mix for the vocals’ entrance. As this piece continues, working through several changes, it is definitely not that far removed from metal, but falls closer to the prog side as something like Dream Theater.
Faith Mission
This starts mellow and lush with pretty progressive rock sounds swirling around and creating the music here. It’s not until after a couple minutes have passed that it gets harder rocking. It remains slow, but takes on a real harder edged sound. After the hard edged segment, it feels like it’s about to real scream out. Instead, they take it back to the mellower motifs to continue. It calls to mind Pink Floyd quite a bit, but with female vocals. A mellow instrumental section later includes some spoken soundbite loops.
Recipe for Disaster
As this starts it feels like a continuation of the previous number, but it powers out from there into some killer progressive rock jamming that has both fusion and metal built into its structures. Dream Theater is a good reference, but with female vocals. There are some more mysterious musical elements later and a killer keyboard solo gives way to a guitar solo continuing that theme. Sedate, classically tinged sounds eventually end the cut.
Veridical Paradox
A piano dominated arrangement opens this with pretty, intricate and mellow tones and the vocals come over the top as that develops. It remains slow and mostly balladic, but then a searing guitar solo takes into more rocking territory as the two minute mark approaches. Rather than really soar out from there, though, it drops back to the melodic mellower tones as that section runs through. That motif, this time sans vocals, ends the cut.  
Revelation
Sound effects and atmosphere start this. The vocals join over the top of a bass guitar driven melody that’s a bit odd. This is rather unusual, but very intriguing. After a while, though, it powers out to some screaming hard edged prog that’s very metallic. That section eventually gives way to a reprise of the earlier movement for the next vocals. As the cut continues to evolve, parts of it resemble Yes quite a bit. Still, there are even bits that come into metal territory. There’s also a hard rocking section that closes the number that has a lot of Rush in the mix.  This is one of the most dynamic numbers on show here and one of the coolest.
Abduction
This remains mellower, but it has a dramatic building process in terms of the intensity and layers of sound. There’s an intriguing rhythmic element here and the vocals don’t follow the more predictable course. This is quite powerfully arranged melodic progressive rock.
Naked Solipsism
With lots of acoustic guitar based sounds, this is a pretty balladic number that’s very progressive rock oriented. At least that applies to the first two and a half minutes. Before the three-minute mark it powers out to some scorching crunchy sounds that are closer to metallic progressive rock. They take into more melodic territory as it continues. It drops back to a very stripped down arrangement to end it like it began.
Unexpected Messiah
Dramatic and powerful melodic progressive rock opens this and grows naturally from there. I love the acoustic guitar jamming on this piece and they create waves of sound over the top of that backdrop to augment and stylize it nicely. A harder rocking Dream Theater like section with spoken sound bites emerges around the two and a half minute mark. From there it works to more melodic, but still harder rocking sounds that seem almost equally tied to fusion and classic rock. That section turns to a crunchy, but still melodic, jam for the next vocals. Then the keyboards herald a shift to a movement that has a lot of Yes built into it. A section of sound effects and other weird elements takes the disc out.
 
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