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Steve Bonino - The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 CD (album) cover

THE STEVE BONINO PROJECT: STARGAZER 2

Steve Bonino

 

Crossover Prog

3.98 | 3 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Coincidences can really be uncanny. Earlier this year I watched a video on YouTube about the Electric Universe Theory and another about the Saturn Theory at the suggestion of a friend. Subsequent visits to YouTube delivered various "theory" videos to my suggested viewing stream, and one such video was about ancient Sumerian tablets that tell us the Sumerian gods known as the Anunnaki were actually extraterrestrial beings that came to earth and delivered agricultural technology to human kind. There was even a thought-provoking video about the true origins of Eden that suggested "God" and "Satan" were actually different Anunnaki overlords and that all of Western religion's mythology is actually based on real events that occurred during the last visit of the Anunnaki alien beings. Not that I believed it, but it sure made for a good story. And hey, what if it were true?

The coincidence was that barely a couple of weeks later, Steve Bonino, whom I knew about through his work on with Bomber Goggles and his appearance on albums by Peter Matuchniak, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing his latest release entitled "Stargazer II". There had been a fair bit of buzz about it on Facebook and so I eagerly accepted. Well, well, wouldn't you know it? The story here in part two of the Stargazer saga includes ancient Sumerian tablets and the discovery that humans beings originated somewhere else in the galaxy. The Anunnaki were indeed alien visitors to earth!

Alright, let's back up a little in the story. The first Stargazer album told the story of an ecologically wrecked earth, and a desperate attempt to ensure the survival of the human race by sending several thousand select individuals off into space on a huge vessel to repopulate to another planet. The planet, known as Proxima B, is described in the story, and the new settlers must deal with a higher gravity, x-ray bombardment, and other challenges. However, the human race survives twenty years into the future and it seems we are going to make it!

In the sequel, a dome is constructed so that people can go outdoors safe from the harmful effects of radiation, and an exploration team discover the remains of an ancient city. Text documents found in the city are brought back for scrutiny and a specialist in Sumerian writing recognizes the alien text as the same as what is found on earth. The album ends with an opening for a third installment in the story.

Aside from the story, which I find compelling and exciting, Steve Bonino and company have created an album diverse in style but without trying to cover all bases and thus they avoid stretching themselves too thin. The music is based on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums with some additional instruments on some tunes. In each song, the story plays out chapter by chapter, sometimes speedy and exciting, sometimes slower and contemplative. There's the folky "Under the Dome" with some enjoyable acoustic instruments and the exciting instrumental "Hyperspeed Overdrive". "Fear" is a personal favourite of mine as well for it's classic heavy prog sound in parts.

Steve has written an album of short songs, some with more lyrics than others, in crossover prog fashion; there's an obvious necessity for songs that tell parts of the story but still no shortage of creativity or range of musical expression. The album moves along at a good pace but with each track having something to offer both lyrically and musically. Short spoken monologues help push forward parts of the story or elucidate events.

I like "Stargazer" quite a lot, but "Stargazer II" sounds like the music has taken a step up. I just find the music to be that much more enjoyable, good though the first album is. One thing I really appreciate is that the music on this album doesn't try to overtake the story. There is a nice balance between lyrics and storyline and instrumental moments.

To conclude, I really like the story here and I can get into the music of the individual tracks. It's obvious the effort Mr. Bonino made to bring his vision to life in the songs. I'm looking forward to hearing what happens in part three!

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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