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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

David Hayes

Epics

Review by Gary Hill

I loved David Hayes’ previous two discs. So, I expected to like this one. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do, though. In fact, I’d say this one is a contender for my best of 2014 list. There are still quite a few months left in the year, but I think the chances are good this will make the cut. It’s got a lot of Beatles elements here, but also sounds like modern prog acts, ELO and more. The thing is, it never seems to lose track of the hook, no matter how complex it gets. This is smart and very effective prog rock.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Backwards

Keyboards bring this in with a texture that feels classical. As it works to the song proper, though, there is a real 1960s pop rock vibe to this. It definitely has touches of psychedelia in it. It rocks out more further down the road and there are definitely Beatles-like elements to this. I love the guitar solo on the tune. At times Klaatu seems to be a valid reference here. This gets a parental advisory for one “f-bomb.”

Black
Although this is more of a straightahead rocker, it still has plenty of progressive rock and classic rock references built into it. Like the opener, this is hook-laden and very classy.
Persistent Memory
Starting off mellow and very delicate in nature, that sort of sound holds it for a while. Later, though, it powers out to some killer melodic hard rock. This is very much set in a 1960s or 1970s sound. It definitely has Beatles-like sounds at play. It’s another great song on a disc with no shortage of them.
Odyssey
As the hard rocking introduction this one plays out, somehow I’m reminded of The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” just a bit. It drops to a ballad-like section for the first vocals and that reference is gone, though. Although those mellow concepts hold it for a while, this eventually works out to some hard rocking progressive rock.
Crazy
This comes in with a very metallic sound. The vocals come in over the top of that hard edged riffing. It gets dropped back after the first vocal section. This has plenty of progressive rock in the mix, but it’s a safe bet the prog purists will run screaming for the exits as this will be too metallic for them. That’s their loss, though. This is actually a great tune.
After All
This starts off very mellow. It’s definitely one that feels a lot like The Beatles. There is a powered up section much later. This piece has some much beauty and emotion locked into. It’s a lot like some of the best of Electric Light Orchestra in a lot of ways. It’s such a great tune.    
La Dee
Another metallic one, this jam really rocks. It earns plenty of parental advisories, though. I’m not sure that I’d think of this one as progressive rock, but it does have some angles on that title. It’s a hard-edged and energized rocker.   
Love Makers
The more pure progressive rock stylings return here. Still, this beast rocks out pretty hard. It’s got some great riffs driving and some exceptional guitar soloing.
Paranoid
With less crunch than the last couple tunes, this is a fast paced, progressive rock number. It does get some metallic elements later in the piece, though.
Behind You
The first couple minutes of this are delivered in a mellow, ballad-like fashion. It powers out to more rocking music beyond that. It’s still very melodic and purely prog-rock (albeit hook laden prog rock). I love the piano that just drives throughout this song.
 
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