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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Active Heed

Visions from Reality

Review by Gary Hill

This is progressive rock, but some of the songs seem barely to fit under that heading. There’s sort of an alternative rock edge here. Overall this is quite good, but it feels a little awkward at times. Also, some of the vocals miss the mark a bit. At best they tend to feel a little awkward. At worst they are off-key and a little hard to take. Still, this is a solid release despite that shortcoming.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Flying Like a Fly

Acoustic guitar elements open this and the cut works out from there. It’s a melodic progressive rock piece that has some energy but is more or less a ballad. The multiple layers of vocals work well.

Awake?!
On the one hand, the rhythm section lends a decidedly progressive rock oriented sound to this piece. The layers of melody over the top, though, bring it more into a modern alternative rock style.
Now What?
This rocker has a lot of retro progressive rock built into it. Somehow there are even some hints of surf music here, though.
Me, Five Seconds Before
Just a little crazed, this is high energy and very quirky. It’s got hints of Rock In Opposition. There are also some Celtic rock elements here.
With Joy
Starting out rather mellow, this turns to a harder rocking tune that definitely has a lot of that Celtic rock influence in place.
Melting of Realities
This piece is quite organic. The percussion is prominent in the mix. It’s got some dramatic, rather theatric vocals. This is a soaring kind of piece that has a lot of cinematic elements to it.
Forest and Joy
A melodic tune, the acoustic guitar weaves lines of melody over the top of this thing. It’s quite a strong piece. In fact, it is one of the best numbers here. There’s a real jazz element to that guitar soloing.
The Weakness of Our Spinning
This pretty tune has a bit of a spinning element to the music. It’s dreamy and quite a strong piece of music. In fact, this is definitely one of the highlights.
Without Joy
The guitar sounds that starts this makes me think a bit of the melodic side of Rush.  As the main arrangement kicks in, it’s one of the most purely progressive rock oriented pieces here.
Every Ten Seconds Before
At over five minutes in length, this cut is the longest one here. It’s also the most dynamic. It’s got some great progressive rock music in the mix. There are some cool changes from mellower and more melodic sounds to harder rocking ones. This is one of the best pieces here. This definitely has the most complex and rocking vocal arrangement, too.
F F F Flashing Fast Forward
This one has more of those Celtic sounds at times. It’s also got more pure progressive rock, particularly in the guitar and keyboard arrangements. The vocals are among the more rocking ones here.
If I Will Never Be
There is a dreamy kind of sound to this. It’s got a real musical theater vibe to it. The vocals sometimes carry that, too. This is a great tune.
Me, One Second Before Johan Robeck
This is rather weird. It’s quite energized and has both psychedelic sounds and theatrical ones along with some rather off-kilter progressive rock. This feels rather angry at times. It gets quite symphonic in the middle of the piece. There are mellower more melodic sections, though.
Usual Plays in Heaven / Be Kind and Talk to Me
The first portion of this is melodic progressive rock with some female vocals. After that works through it drops to sort of a stripped back, rather electronic vibe. The cut grows out from there with a powered up percussion section.
Our Vast Emptiness
A diverse and dynamic progressive rocker, this really makes me think of early Spock’s Beard quite a bit. There are hints of Pink Floyd and space rock in the mix of this piece, too.
 
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