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Cairo - Conflict And Dreams CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.59 | 112 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This would be Cairo's 2nd, and its not much of a departure from the 1st CD. except on the whole I personally like the songs a bit better on this one. Keyboardist Mark Robertson's solo's have calmed down a bit on the Keith Emersonism's.. Cairo have been criticized for being blatant rip-offs on the ELP sound and I can see where those critic's are coming from but those comparisons (to these ears) are only during Mr. Robertson's dominatingly long keyboard solo excursion's. The actual songs themselves don't really refer to ELP much. Out of the 6 songs on this CD (totaling 67 min.) only 2 of them (Western Desert and Valley of the Shadow) seem to imitate ELP and that's only during the instrumental part and when the keyboards are wailing away. They do not use odd time signatures much and there is no acoustic guitar or even any soft songs like ELP had on all their albums. Then there's another thing that ELP never had, Alec Fuhrman, Cairo's former brilliant guitarist. He IS what separated Cairo from most of the 90s/2000s bombastic, keyboard driven prog bands, With his fluid, harmonious and thematic playing he is not your typical prog rock guitar player. It would seem he does not play very many chord's but chooses instead to play his guitar in a way that it weaves in and around the music and vocals, much in the way Steve Hackett did in Genesis. He does not sound like Mr. Hackett at all but his style within the song structure is much the same and I really dig it. As a matter of fact on Cairo's 3rd release he was replaced by 2 or 3 guest guitarist and to me this was not a good move. Kinda like when Steve Hackett quit Genesis, it was still good but there was an immediate and unmistakable presence missing and Cairo is now not the same because of his departure. I like this CD, especially the songs "Angels and Rage" and "Western Desert". I wish I could give it a 3 star rating but will opt for 3. The drumming is good but not spectacular. He's no Carl Palmer and that's OK because as I said before these songs are not ELP imitations. The vocals of Bret Douglas are in that Greg Lake/John Wetton range. (Although Bret sometimes goes into a higher register then the 2 former) But his voice is different enough that it he does not come off sounding like a rip-off/wanna-be. All the members are good enough to be playing this style of music, the song writing is above par and their music is a wonderful bridge between prog rock past and present Its not prog metal, not Neo. Not old school prog but a decent and new sounding mix of the 3. And then there's that great guitar playing.
| 3/5 |


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