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Versus X - The Turbulent Zone CD (album) cover

THE TURBULENT ZONE

Versus X

 

Crossover Prog

3.40 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
3 stars 3.5 stars really.

This is a long overdue review on my part, but I figured I'd get this one done before I move on to the next album.

For the most part, this is a band that seems to be definitely a part time project. The time between albums bears this out. Still, this album sees the band sounding considerably more sophisticated than the first two albums and the previous live album. This is due largely (if not entirely) to the addition of a new drummer who fits the bands style far better than the previous one (who was still quite good), and a new bass player who is leaps and bounds better than the previous one.

The music is still in the same style, symphonic prog with a neo-prog sheen (why this band is listed as crossover prog is beyond my comprehension.........they do not fit that category's definition as given on this site in any way, shape, or form). However, everything seems more precise, more tight in execution. The first track, a 21 minute epic, is probably their best yet instrumentally. The first few sections are taken up by the vocals, which carry some interesting melodies and culminate in the chorus (this band doesn't really have traditional versus and choruses and bridges, but that is not unusual in prog). The entire second half of the song, about 11 minutes, is given over to the best instrumental ensemble playing Versus X has ever delivered. Great dynamics and variety, and showcasing some of their most complex and interesting melodies and progressions to date. All in all, a fantastic song.

The next track is a bit mellower, but features an incredible acoustic guitar melody that dominates the song. Some very interesting vocals over this lead into a heavier section towards the end that develops the initial guitar melody further. Fantastic drumming during this part of the song.

The next two tracks are something of a let down after the two excellent opening tracks, though both have things to like. Strange Attractor is a fairly disjointed song that actually reminds me a bit of Van der Graaf Generator in the way it jumps all over the place. Many of the transitions seem odd and forced and the song definitely doesn't flow very well. Still there are some good instrumental moments within, but the vocal melodies never really seem to work and certainly don't stay with you after it's over.

The Hostile Sea is the track most similar in sound to their previous album, and considering it was performed with the previous lineup it's easy to understand why. This one has a long melodic theme that is worked through in the first half, followed by some instrumental development of that theme, which is then resolved back to the end of the original melody sung over floating synths to create a very ambient conclusion. A decent song, but not particularly memorable or one of their best.

So two great tracks and two not so great tracks. I'm going to give this a 3.5 out of 5, because it is quite good, but probably not essential. This is a second or third tier band when you come right down to it, and only really of interest to neo prog fans that lean toward the more symphonic and somewhat more complex side of that genre. Personally, I really enjoy this album and this band and I'm not really a fan of much neo prog, so this band probably fits more squarely in the symphonic prog category. Worth checking out if you are digging deep into the obscure corners of progdom.

infandous | 3/5 |

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