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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tim Morse

Faithscience

Review by Gary Hill

This is a pretty impressive progressive rock album. I suppose the most common musical reference here would be Gentle Giant, mostly in the vocal arrangements, but there is a lot of other sound here. At points it feels like King Crimson. Other parts are similar to Yes. It’s all quite strong, though and fans of 1970s prog will find plenty to like on this set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Descent

This thing comes out of the gate with a classical and jazz tinged prog jam that’s awesome. It works through several changes feeling rather fusion-like at times. Gentle Giant and King Crimson are both somewhat valid comparisons here. This is a fairly short (less than three minutes) instrumental that has some scorching guitar later, too.

Voyager
This one comes out with more of a mainstream rock element. Still, it’s definitely progressive rock As the vocals enter the backing music has some Genesis and Yes within it. Some changes ensue as it continues. This thing is quite organic in terms of the changes and shifts feeling like they fit together, but it is changes quite a bit. At times some melodic guitar really shines. At other places the keyboards are driving it. There’s a hard edged movement later that seems to have some Pink Floyd mixed with some Genesis.
Closer
A fairly mellow and keyboard dominated instrumental section opens this, lending definite fusion elements to the piece. As it powers out that Gentle Giant comparison is quite valid. Shifting this way and that, this is another killer progressive rock jam. It remains melodic throughout, but really has a lot of changes and variety built into it. There is also some particularly noteworthy keyboard soloing later in the piece.
Window
This is a fairly short and intricate acoustic guitar solo that’s melodic and pretty. The sounds of crickets accompany the guitar.
Numb
The vocals enter at the start with just acoustic guitar for backing. Then other instruments are gradually added as this rises upward in a magical kind of fairly mellow sound. There are classical elements at play in this song. Beyond that it fits in the folk inspired progressive rock vein.
Myth
This powers out with a real AOR type progressive rock jam. In some ways this thing is more accessible than the other music here. That said, it’s not that the other music has a long learning curve. It’s just that this is more hook laden in the early section. There’s a change into another hard rocking movement, though, that’s a little awkward – or at least abrupt. It’s the least organic change we’ve heard here. That is the first shift toward moving this out into far less mainstream territory. Various changes and variants ensue here running through a lot of different prog movements. It’s one of the more unique songs, really. Considering how accessible that opening movement ways, this is one of the least casual listener friendly pieces here. That’s not a bad thing. It just means that first time through it’s likely to throw off a lot of listeners. There are some awesome keyboard sections in this thing, too. There’s a pretty straightforward instrumental movement mid-track, too. The closing section includes some pretty fiery guitar soloing.
Found It
More melodic, but no less shifting, progressive rock is heard early on this. There’s a scorching guitar solo as the piece turns harder edged (a bit Pink Floyd-like). Then, the whole thing works out to another cool jam from there. Like just about everything here, don’t get too comfortable because it doesn’t stay in one place for long. There’s a cool psychedelic, dream-like section later. Then it fires out into some halfway mainstream rock from there.
Rome
In a lot of ways this one makes me think quite a bit of Kansas, but there are sections that are closer to Yes and others that even feel a little Genesis. Still other points take us in some fusion-like territory.
The Last Wave
If I had to label this whole thing with one phrase, it would be Kansas meets Emerson Lake and Palmer. That said, it doesn’t really completely nail it. This gets quite hard edged at times, leaning towards heavy metal. It careens this way and that and is quite a cool piece of music. There’s a mellower section later that’s rather dramatic and cinematic. The changes come pretty fast and furious later with some seriously harder rocking sections emerging at times.
Afterword
More dreamy and melodic, this is quite a pretty song. It’s rather ballad-like. That said, it’s a power ballad, if you consider it a ballad at all. It’s quite dramatic and has some great melodic guitar soloing later.
The Corners
Cinematic and dreamy with a lot of symphonic elements is a great way to describe this. It’s fairly short and ends the disc in style.
 
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