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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mater Thallium

Abandoned by the Sun

Review by Gary Hill

I really love this album. The mix of sounds here is extreme. There are things like folk music, full classical arrangements and more mixed with progressive rock and even doom metal. I love music that mashes unlikely things together, so this is obvious for me. It’s also done so well that it’s exceptional.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sudden Dereliction

The sounds of the sea start this. Then a folk prog styled movement rises up to bring us into the musical portion of the proceedings. It drops before the one minute mark to a little weirdness. Then it pounds in with something that’s equal parts doom metal and crazed progressive rock. It drops to mellower territory for the first vocals. At the end of the verse it powers to that same doom metal meets prog sound. The drop for the next section of singing is less complete mellow texture. The piece continues to shift and evolve from there. I could see this being called heavy metal, but it’s far too proggy for that title to really fit. It continues alternating between the harder edged instrumental sections and mellower vocal movements. Around the five minute mark a more adventurous movement serves as the backdrop for another vocal section. It’s definitely prog rock. That styled movement becomes the “go to” for the vocal sections as the alternating pattern continues.

Suicidium
This is essentially a classical piece with Gregorian chant for vocals. It’s a shorter number.
Exiled Witness
Another song that alternates between mellower and more ferocious sections, this also balances metal with prog. It tends to sit more fully on the prog end of the spectrum, though, even feeling a bit psychedelic at times. This is a real powerhouse that’s so amazing.
Maternal Mortality
This starts with a more metallic movement. It drops to a particularly mellow movement with female vocals. From there it works to jazzy prog with male singing. Working through a number of shifts and changes, this really is more purely prog than some of the other stuff. At times it wanders toward folk prog. Other parts are more psychedelic. In some ways it reminds me of very early King Crimson at times.
Fear of Water
The metallic riff section on this has a real doom Sabbath kind of vibe to it. Yet, as usual, it’s balanced with more pure progressive rock and psychedelia. This is another great song on a disc that’s full of them. I also make out some old school Crimson in the mix here.
Mother Free
Although there are no huge changes here, this is less metal than some of the rest. It also has more world music and folk prog in the mix. It’s actually one of my favorite cuts here. It just seems to work particularly well for some reason.
Purgatorial Membrane
This piece is pretty much pure progressive rock. It starts mellow and quite pretty and works out to fast paced prog mayhem. I love this instrumental. It may be short, but it’s great.
Finite
This progressive rock masterpiece is one heck of a powerful musical journey. It works through so much different territory. There are turns this way and that. While it’s based on the same basic musical concepts, it’s not like a copy of anything here. It’s one of my favorite songs here, really. As a pretty and quite mellow movement guides the ending of the song, the sea sounds from the first track return.
 
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