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Parallel Or 90 Degrees - More Exotic Ways To Die CD (album) cover


Parallel Or 90 Degrees

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Another head on melee of contemporary dance and heavy progressive rock from PO 90. MEWTD concentrates more on the guitar and the riffs are particularly abrasive and dark, on average the songs are shorter and more self contained than previous offerings linked only by short ambient instrumental passages, so this album can be enjoyed as a whole or the tracks stand alone. As with most PO 90 release the drums are 'thin' sounding but as this is the rule rather than the exception I presume its the desired effect. Stylistically much akin to what Porcupine Tree are doing, especially Man Of Thin Air which I has an incessant mid paced riff about half way through the song which changes little while the arrangement changes underneath to the point where you think you can't stand it anymore and it comes to an abrupt halt, a trick employed by Steve Wilson and co. on more than one occasion. Petroleum Addicts is a great 'old style' prog song in the sense it has many colourful parts albiet with a inimitable PO 90 spin, with its metal like riffage juxtaposed with house music (believe it or not), 'this has nothing to do with prog!' I hear you cry, well no not in the generic sense it doesn't but for those who say that, the Mellotron (or digital equivalent) and trusty guitar solo are at the end of this exhilirating track. MEWTD has all the ingredients to appeal to those looking for something new as well as vintage.
Report this review (#11014)
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars As with many albums I listen to, the first playing of this was in the car. I had loaded the player with a few discs and initially didn't realise that this was the sixth album by Parallel Or 90 Degrees. The reason is that for me they have made a step change with this release, it is the album that I never thought that they were truly capable of. In other words this is a majestic leap into the annals of prog. This may be due to new guitarist Dan Watts who has given the music a much darker, far heavier edge. While they still maintain their links with the style of VDGG there is much more also in the style of Porcupine Tree and even Radiohead.

This is especially true for the eclectic almost hard rock "The Heavy Metal Guillotine Approach", or of course there is "The One That Sounds Like Tangerine Dream" (okay, it is a filler link but I had to get that title into the review somewhere). The booklet is also very comprehensive and by the time I had arrived home I was a convert.

But, when I was looking at the album in a bit more detail I realised that this was an extended album, so I placed it into the computer and got quite a shock. As the album is not quite as long as usual efforts they have included a compilation album, plus a completely printable CD cover, a complete album from 1989 plus other music. There is information about how the album was recorded plus an 8 minute video! It takes longer to go through all of the music and information on the bonus than it does on the main album!

I would recommend this album to all progheads if it didn't contain all of the extras so if you were ever in any doubt about this band then now is definitely the time to discover them.

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

Report this review (#978041)
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES is one of my favourite bands and this is my favourite album by them. In fact it's also a top three album for me for 2002. I find it interesting that for this their final album(they did make a comeback album in 2009) that they amped up the heaviness in a major way. PORCUPINE TREE did the very same thing in the very same year with "In Absentia". Sadly PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES called it quits after this one and by the following year we saw that Andy Tillison was part of the first THE TANGENT release. I always appreciated that Sam and Andy played synths in this band while Andy also played the organ and Sam the piano. They always were a heavy keyboard driven band and that's still in affect here, it's just that the guitar and heaviness were never this prominent.

"Impaled On Railing" sounds amazing to start with that guitar/ bass/ drum melody as the vocals join in. That melody will come and go. It picks up on the chorus each time. Organ before a minute followed by a nice heavy sound. Synths scream 1 1/2 minutes in. Love the spacey calm a minute later then it kicks back in after 3 minutes. A great opening number. "A Man Of Thin Air" opens with bass as spacey synths and drums join in. Vocals follow in this laid back intro. It kicks in hard before a minute including organ. Some excellent guitar expressions follow as themes are repeated. A guitar solo after 2 minutes. It picks up before 4 minutes as they kick some ass. Ripping guitar here as well. Some huge bass lines 4 1/2 minutes in. "Embalmed In Acid" is a top three although I really do love every track on here. It sounds like electronics as reserved vocals join in, keys too. Great lyrics by the way to this one. It's so moving a minute in(gulp). A laid back tune that turns fuller 3 minutes in to great affect. The synths are beautiful before 4 minutes and they continue almost to the end as it slowly fades away with picked guitar and piano. Gorgeous.

"The Heavy Metal Guillotine Approach" is up next. Here we go! Heavy with drums, bass and vocals standing out on the versus. Love that chorus. Guitar to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes then he starts to light it up. So good! Some interesting vocal expressions 3 1/2 minutes in. "Drum One" has random drums and electronics. Growly synths take over and they are powerful as the drums and electronics return. So cool. Keys over top a minute in. Love this stuff. Here we go after 1 1/2 minutes as it picks up speed. The guitar comes in before 2 1/2 minutes laying waste the soundscape.

"The One That Sounds Like Tangerine Dream" has more drums and electronics like the previous track even the same melody. Tons of atmosphere when it settles and voices too. Brilliant. "A Body In Free Drift" is a top three song. Guitar, piano and a beat as the vocals join in. It's fairly relaxed to start out. Such a dreamy chorus. It picks up before 1 1/2 minutes with some prominent bass. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in with the drums out front before settling back to that dreamy vibe. It absolutely rocks after 2 1/2 minutes, just killing it! The wah wah guitar a minute later turns into a shred-fest. It settles back 4 1/2 minutes followed by an instrumental section of bass, keyboards, drums and synths. It kicks back in with vocals after 5 minutes. Organ runs before 7 minutes then the vocals return as we get a big finish.

"The Dream" reminds me of STORM CORROSION with the electronics and sparse piano. A fuzzy sound here before it kicks in with drums and more. Powerful stuff. Another calm after a minute with spoken words as contrasts continue. "Petroleum Addicts" is my final top three. What a way to end the album. A heavy intro then synths pulse followed by more heaviness as the riffs start to speed up. Organ as well before a calm arrives with vocals. The lyrics are so meaningful. It kicks in again at 3 minutes but not for long as it settles back with vocals before kicking in again as contrasts continue. It calms right down with windy synths then samples of someone speaking before piano, mellotron, bass and drums appear briefly before 9 minutes. Vocals and a more upbeat sound take over. Love those Hammill-like vocals. Such angst as he spits out "We're all addicted to petroleum!". Such emotion in the words that follow as well.

A bit of fanboy here but I love this band. That perfect combination of intelligent lyrics and lights out instrumental work.

Report this review (#1586269)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Parallel or 90 Degrees was Andy Tillison's major project prior to the foundation of The Tangent, and (if you set aside the 2009 reunion release Jitters) More Exotic Ways To Die represents the final hurrah of that unit. What you get here is darkly aggressive prog with an intriguing National Health-esque dual keyboardist lineup, with Tillison joined on keys by Sam Baine. Comparisons to Van der Graaf Generator came thick and fast during Parallel's prime, but to me they sound startling original, the VdGG connection largely coming in from their willingness to take a somewhat angrier tone than prog bands typically go for.
Report this review (#1780140)
Posted Friday, September 8, 2017 | Review Permalink

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