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Chest Rockwell - Laugh And The World Laughs With You CD (album) cover

LAUGH AND THE WORLD LAUGHS WITH YOU

Chest Rockwell

 

Neo-Prog

3.50 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Originally intended to be a full length release, this EP by American outfit Chest Rockwell was released in this form owing to their producer having to take time off for impending fatherhood! Well, I hope that all goes well with that, and I will say here that his knob twirling work is always quite superb on this release, thus allowing the band to avoid the trap of a poor sounding work that many other newer outfits can fall into.

When opener Black Reign came blasting out of my speakers, I had to revisit the band's profile on our site to check that they really were classified as neo-prog, because this is HEAVY. It is basically a heavy prog track, verging on the prog metal, and as far as traditional neo as you are likely to get. A pounding bass, drums, and riffs assault your senses, and this is full of youthful energy, with enough industry to make for an impact start. However, there are also enough melodic interludes amongst the riffs to make you sit up and realise that this is a lot more than a "by numbers" headbanging act. The solo guitar riff is very good, and the lengthy instrumental passage that closes the track is very impressive.

Juggernaut follows, and, vocals aside, I hear more than a bit of latter-day King Crimson here, before more "standard" riffs kick in. As with the opener, there are some nice guitar breaks amongst the riffing, but I find this a bit unsatisfying as a whole.

Hogwash changes the complexion of the EP completely, and is very pleasing as the "thrashing" of Juggernaut gives way completely, and is replaced by a very thoughtful, and understated, piece of music, featuring delicate keyboards, guitar and bass leading to some excellent solo guitar work (the solo guitar work by Seth Wilson is consistently excellent throughout the album). This track is somewhat mournful, without ever descending into depressing music, and is a true highlight and a clear taste of what the band are capable of. Nick Stewart, especially, creates a magnificent bass line to move the track along, and the riff at the denouement is excellent, reminding me very much of Rush in their finer moments.

Ultimo Hombre returns to extremely heavy territory. it is basically a modern heavy metal track without the prog balls attached. Good for what it is, but rather forgettable if I am honest.

Cut In Half closes the work, and is the best track on the EP. This piece, to me, very cleverly combines many traditional and modern influences in the band's music. Passages are at once Crimsonesque, and others Floydian, and the vocal performance of Josh Hines is the best by far on the work, simply because of its more laid back approach. A far more mature piece of music than the first listen suggests, this is, at the end of the day, very impressive, modern, heavier progressive rock, and the more frontal keyboard work does give one more than a hint of bands such as Arena in its pomposity, and I say this as a compliment.

There is more than enough in this EP for me to look forward to its successor in the months to come, and to award it a good three star rating. It is certainly a true shift onwards in comparison to some of the older pieces of music (which can be listened to on the band's Bandcamp site).

Do not be too fooled by the neo prog tag assigned on the site. This is, in reality, a modern heavy prog album, interspersed with passages that, with careful thought and nurturing, can move this band into the sort of commercially fruitful territory currently occupied by the likes of Haken and Riverside. I would also like to see more use of melodics and, certainly, keyboards.

lazland | 3/5 |

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