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Cross - Playgrounds CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.57 | 35 ratings

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3 stars This album by CROSS comprises good combination of keyboard and guitars as main soloists, accompanied with good rhythm section comprising drums and bass. It's good for a musical break after you might have been bombarded with hard-edge progressive metal or even metal music. The music of "Playgrounds" is quite relaxing - the music flows smoothly from one segment to another with transition pieces of guitar and / or keyboard solos. It's typical neo prog music vein.

"Let The Play Begin... "(7:37) is a keyboard-based composition in relatively medium tempo that combines a floating singing style, nice guitar solo and multi-layer keyboard sounds. The music flows smoothly, featuring different kind of segments - those overlaid with guitar solo or keyboard works. If you listen to this track, it's recommended to set high volume on your amplifier and you would get subtleties of the music.

"DejŠ Vý" (4:36) continues the music almost seamlessly with soft guitar riffs in faster tempo than the opening track. It's an interesting instrumental track in relatively upbeat mood. "A New Beginning" (10:10) might be considered as an epic. The music reminds me the kind of Pendragon, IQ or Pallas. It starts mellow with low register vocal notes combined beautifully with Floydian guitar work. The music moves in crescendo with faster tempo at approx minute 2:30. In terms of change dynamics, the band tries to avoid such thing as sudden change because the music is floating with relatively no major breaks into different style. The music explores its peak with symphonic style in he middle of the track using solo synthesizer. The use of alto sax solo has enriched the texture of this song.

"The Battle Of Thalˇma" (5:31) is another floating music with intertwined keyboard and guitar works. It's quite odd to me as the title is about "battle" but the song does not represent a nuance of battle. Or I might be wrong expecting something like Genesis "the Battle of Epping Forest"? Oh yes, I'm wrong as when the music enters minute 3 I can hear the change of style into more symphonic with a bit like marching drums that relate us to the battle nuance. After this instrumental track the music continues with "...And Enter The Game" (9:44) that has vocal parts. The music changes from flat style into more dynamic ones in the middle of the track. The album concludes with an epic "Mesmerizing Enterprize" (15:20) - exploring the multi-layered keyboard sounds and guitar solos.

I think, this is a main characteristic of any neo prog venture: if the floating / ambient styles are not combined with changes in tempo or sudden change of beats in a dynamic way, the music tends to be boring. This is what I feel about this album. In terms of musical flow and melody, this album is quite enjoyable especially with the flux of guitar solo and some keyboard sounds - it makes the music is interesting. But then what if the music is not augmented with sudden change of chords in higher notes? There is not much variations that I can enjoy, emotionally. Unfortunately, music is emotion. You might have great compositions but if they lack melody and / or harmony - they will be passing your ears and not succumbed into your heart / mind. In any case, this is not a bd album at all but this one really fails to stimulate good emotion to me. So I just consider this as good but not essential neo prog album. Keep on proggin' ..!

"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when they are open"

Gatot | 3/5 |


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