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Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 610 ratings

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3 stars A supergroup that needs no introduction so let's get straight to the strange mish-mash of songs here.

In The Dead of Night - Light of Day - Presto. A trio of songs that opens the album with a blast. It reminds me a lot of Yes's Drama album. The sound is similar and the style is similar, with muscular bass & drums that compete with the dazzling guitar work from Holdsworth and the rather dreadful 80s sounding keyboards. The three parts form a unity but it's obvious that short and tight compositions have replaced the epics of old. The music remains dynamic and musically interesting and Wetton is great on the vocals here.

Thirty Years is a weird song, starting in a jazzy lounge mood with new-age synth effects. Halfway in we get treated to a fantastic snappy riff dancing in sync with the reckless time signatures that Bruford lays down. Unfortunately, around minute 6, Wetton deemed it necessary to spoil the fun by switching to an awkwardly fitting and ugly anthemic vocal part that is totally disconnected from the rest. Could have been a classic this one.

Alaska. Hear those synths! Neo-prog is arriving in a big way. As on the first track UK reminds me of Saga. The synth intro takes a while but when they get into the groove, it's fantastic, citing ELP in a very adequate way. One of my favorite tracks here. Unfortunately it's also the end of the album as far as I'm concerned

Wetton stretches the limits of his vocal chords and the extremities of far-fetched and strained vocal delivery on Time To Kill:. The verses are dreadfully contrived and the chorus must be one of the worst AOR has to offer. Oh yes, Asia is not far away anymore when hearing this. Another attempt at jazzy singing follows on Nevermore. It's quickly given up in favor of some cheap jazz-pop. Simply unlistenable. Fast-forward to minute 3 where the band indulges in a synth heavy jam. Not bad, not necessary.

Mental Medication could have saved the album but this hybrid of jazz-pop, AOR and keyboard pyroclastics is simply too much to take. I sure can see where Dream Theater got some of the cheese and the senseless soloing from.

This albums contains the type of mindless prog solos and AOR-leanings that made me stop loving prog a few ages ago. I can see now there is still some good stuff as well, and Holdsworth is a marvel. But I'm not sure if it's enough for 3 stars. There's too much that drags it down.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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