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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Shine On (Classic Rock Cover Disc) CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.05 | 2 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not shining much.

Classic Rock's "Shine On" is compilation that proudly displays on the cover: "12 tracks of epic, ambient, symphonic, metal and frankly mad new prog." Is it any good? Certainly, kudos to the CR magazine for a move that promotes (modern) prog - but the final judgement is this compilation good or not - or is the new prog as a whole good or not - is up to a listener. Of course, one compilation, no matter how good it might be, can not represent the whole movement, but a newcomer could be intrigued to check for the new names. Let's see what do we got here:

1. Mother And Child Divided (Porcupine Tree)

A track from the (then forthcoming) DVD "Arriving Somewhere". Described by Mr. Rowley, Editor-in-chief as "a juddering, propulsive instrumental". Well, the "instrumental" part is true. The track is not very demanding or interesting, representing just some staccato heavy riffing with little or no harmonic change at all, mostly in 11/8 time measure with a few spacey sounds in the background. Nothing to die for. This track is performed live.

2. The Ballet Of The Impact (Spock's Beard)

Starts with GENESIS-like Mellotron layers, soon getting rock driven spacey song with a nice feel, but somewhat spoiled with awful drumming. The middle section is a slow pseudo-classical piano section (with hints of flute and keys) which start the song again, this time in a slower pace, while drumming are spoiling the picture again, but this time reinforced with uninteresting vocal part, after that, there's an obligatory solo during the verse and that's about it.

3. Window To The Soul (GPS)

GPS is an Asian band, with Ryo Okumot (SPOCK'S BEARD). Not very demanding, but quite listenable prog metal piece with somewhat dated keys and cheesy power-chorus. The song goes bananas during the wicked guitar solo. An awesome piece.

4. Hit Me With A Hit (The Flower Kings)

It starts great, while in vocal sections tends to incline towards to old-fashioned neo-prog (awesome). The middle part is a combination of poppier Gabriel-esque tune and Gentle Giant-ish attitude (xylophones, spasmic guitar solos) and overall daring. Very decent tune.

5. Incommunicado (Fish)

Incommunicado is a trippy, dancey tune containing some new wave rhythm-section, but that's the only good thing about it. The sound is horrible, muffled, full of annoying reflections.

6. Out! (Lunatica)

I'm not sure what is this thing doing here. It sounds like the WORST POP tune with female vocals (in chorus), the more "daring" parts sound like a mixture of metal riffing with bad trip-hop. It could be piled with anything from ROXETTE to Alanis. But they are both much better; this is a perfect example of Eurovision Contest in Finland; techno dance track with a metal flavour.

7. Willow Tree (Circulus)

A beautiful song, although it's one of those "regressive rock" tunes; apart from the production, it sounds authentically seventies: Synths, El. pianos, flute. Not very demanding, but enjoyable. Typical CAMEL's spacey/symph feel with folksy overtones and two vocals (male and female).

8. The House Of Plague (Wolverine)

They used to be a death metal band. Now they're not considering themselves metal, claiming they are "progressive band, as opposed to progressive metal band". (by Mr. Rowley). My impression: this is power-metal tune which first part is in 7/8. A few awesome guitar parts, nice background keys and a few studio tricks. Good vocal, not too original but decent.

9. Volte-Face (Riverside)

I'm not impressed with this one. A furious Hammond buried with a digital production, with uninspired heavy prog riffing on the top. However, it gets more interesting in the middle of the song when a pleasant male vocal came in. Metal with a scent of pseudo-Middle-Eastern melody, followed by a piano passage, calming down with keyboard layers, and again exploding with metal section with vocals (think of predictable, polished SYSTEM OF DOWN with Kashmir-like strings).

10. Black Light Machine (Frost)

I was never able to dig this one. Although of an epic size there are very few memorable moments. It's full of repeated delay, at the moments sound like a mixture of heavy riffing and lounge music.

11. Innocence (Whimwise) (4:09)

It's getting worse. This one is a mixture - could you imagine it of new age and midi file. Ugh. Highlights are: a few keyboard moments, but they are few and far between, and a few hints of Enya circa "Orinoco Flow". Everything else sounds like it had been programmed on a digital workstation.

12. Pass The Clock (Mostly Autumn)

Or old friends MOSTLY AUTUMN provided a multi-part epic for this compilation, and it's a great prog folk composition, with clever sections and sensitive delivery, especially in the first part. The second one is showing a disease of modern prog; prog bands need to be strictly prog, and nothing else. This one is a heavy prog template without much connection with the first one. However, it works, and it contain a few nice moments (on the bag pipes). Soon it slows down to the very "Snow Goose meets Yes" atmosphere; the melodies are lovely again. Third part is an upbeat acoustic one, again reminding a bit of YES inside the folk context. The last track on the CD is the best one.

But the last tracks on the CD is not the last track on this compilation, because "due to prog's lengthy nature" the bonus track is actually bonus download. Is' not physical part of the CD, but it's a part of the same concept:

13. I'm Alive (Classic Mix) (Magenta)

I guess of you like a neo-proggy sphere of MAGENTA, you will like this one. To me it sounds like a pleasant routine, nothing less, nothing more.

In conclusion: this is a vivisection of contemporary prog but the blade is not cutting to the very marrow. Selections (of bands, songs, sub-genres) will always be addressed. One or two tracks are absolutely disposable, more than two are a routine work. Prog-metal (with its many subgenres) should have been represented better; there's no sign of modern prog electronic, fusion, avant-prog. Or post rock. However it holds an informational value first, then artistic and emotional.
clarke2001 | 3/5 |


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