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Robert Berry - Pilgrimage To A Point CD (album) cover


Robert Berry

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Robert Berry's Pilgrimage to a Point is in my collection for a very long time now (since it's release I believe) and I always felt a bit sad Berry wasn't included in our site yet. Till recently when the crossover team decided to add him anyway, a rightful decision as far as I'm concerned. Because crossover is an excellent subgenre for this album (don't know any of his other works just yet). The booklet has a very handy schedule of Berry's musical history up until 1995. It shows his roots are especially in the typical eighties "prog"band Asia with slighter lines drawn towards ELP (Emerson and Palmer), Yes (Howe) and even a bit of Boston and Sammy Hagar there. And that's pretty much what you should think of if you want to know the musical style of Berry.

It's mainly Asia (No one else to blame, The Love we share, Freedom) that comes to mind when listening to this album added with some ELP (Another Man, Last Ride into the Sun) and even hints to Cairo (Shelter, The Blame) and a little bit of Toto (The Otherside). So that means a blend of prog and AOR roughly spoken. It's probably no coincidence that the longer tracks Shelter, The Blame and Last Ride into the Sun are the most progressive on this release. On two of these three Berry had the assistance of Carl Palmer concerning the songwriting. These three tracks justify Berry's presence here on PA where Pilgrimage is concerned. The other six added with the hidden track The Weapon is Love are more or less forgettable for the real proggers in our scene. And that is when the progressive content is concerned and not really the quality of music because the other six are also worthwhile.

In the end the only right outcome for me is three stars taking into account this is a progressive site. But it's rounded down, the right score is around 3,3 for me. Recommended for those who dig crossover prog and don't mind a bit of AOR flavour.

Report this review (#478591)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Robert Berry is an odd character, in the liner notes he insists in reminding us of his relationships to proper prog (member of 3 = close relationship with ELP, his work with GTR and Steve Howe etc, he even includes a family tree showing all these links and more) but actually his music is plainly crossover. A very similar case to Trevor Rabin or Billy Sherwood.

The music we find here is not much different from 3, GTR, Asia or Trevor Rabin / Billy Sherwood-era Yes, AOR-oriented prog, easy-listening and melodic while still retaining a decent level of complexity and using several typical prog sound patches and motifs, it sounds good but it's far from outstanding when you think of it a bit in detail.

Robert's voice is good, no question about it, but it is not very personal and it does not save the whole thing.

The best songs for my taste are in the second half of the CD, with "The Blame", "The Otherside" and "Last Ride Into The Sun", the best song here, a great symphonic 10 min epic with many nods to ELP.

Report this review (#867377)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Progressive... to a point

This album sounds like a cross-breed of GTR (the 80's band formed by guitar legends Steve Howe and Steve Hackett) and 3 (the version of Emerson, Lake & Palmer not featuring Greg Lake). This is hardly surprising since Robert Berry was involved in both bands; Berry was invited to contribute to a follow-up (that never came to fruition) to the self-titled GTR album and he was Greg Lake's replacement in 3. On the present album, Berry goes solo, but at least some of the material consists of leftovers from GTR and 3 sessions. Some of the songs here were co-written by Berry and Steve Howe, some with Carl Palmer, and the closing track with Keith Emerson. Perhaps this is what Asia would have sounded like had it been Emerson instead of Geoff Downes handling the keyboards?

Berry sings all lead vocals and plays most of the instruments. This includes some very Howe-like guitars and some very Emerson-like keyboards. Berry is a good musician and instrumentalist, but he lacks a style of his own. The vocals are professional, but again rather anonymous.

The quality of the material is varied and ranges from strong to pedestrian. The best, and most progressive, track is the closing number Last Ride Into The Sun. This one is in the style of To The Power Of Three (which in turn is in the style of ELP). Another highlight is Shelter which reminds me somewhat of the style of Trevor Rabin's better recordings. It features a nice piano and acoustic guitar section. No One Else To Blame that opens the album is the most GTR-like number. It is not bad, but is not up to par with the better songs from the self-titled GTR album (an album I actually like a lot!). The least good songs are in the middle towards the end. Here the album runs out of steam and frankly tends to get unexciting (until it is reinvigorated by the aforementioned Last Ride Into The Sun).

Pilgrimage To A Point is a good but far from essential album. It is recommended to fans of the bands mentioned above.

Report this review (#989602)
Posted Sunday, June 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A veteran of the Pomp/AOR US and worldwide scene, Robert Berry begun his career in mid-70's with the AOR group Hush, before following a solo career in 1985 with his debut solo album ''Back to back''.The turning point of his career comes in 1986, when he receives a call by Carl Palmer and travels to England, where he meets also with Steve Howe and is being suggested as a replacement of Steve Hackett in the GTR supergroup.After months of sessions GTR eventually disbanded and Berry went on to join Palmer and Keith Emerson in the newly established trio of 3.They released their only album ''...To the power of three'' in 1988, which was never responded by the continuous support of Geffen Records and this trio folded as well.Berry returned to the States and continued writing songs, which finally led to his second solo album ''Pilgrimage to a point'' in 1993, joined by Marcus Miller on bass, Preston Thrall on drums, Mike Wible on keyboards and ex-Hush bandmate Paul Keller on guitars.

About half of the songs date back from the days of Berry with GTR and 3, featuring the composing talents of Howe, Emerson and Palmer, and actually Berry himself dedicated this work to his unforgotten days in the UK with the aforementioned musicians.Musically this a blend of melodic AOR/Pomp Rock with some Prog aesthetics around, based on Berry's sensitive vocal lines, the melodic guitar work, the atmospheric synthesisers and the progressive tendencies in the vein of 3.Some complex and certainly bombastic keyboard parts are always present, albeit a bit cheesy and typical of the sound of the time, reminding the early works of CAIRO and MAGELLAN.Most of the pieces follow the secure lines of straightforward Melodic Rock with grandiose keyboard deliveries, highlighted by Berry's pretty great songwriting, eventually offering memorable themes and catchy choruses, without ever being nowhere near the heart-felt sound of similar sounding bands.His most progressive tracks actually remind a bit of KANSAS' more easy-going material, balancing between a radio-friendly style with powerful grooves and instant melodic lines and semi-symphonic passages with a monster synth sound, efficient guitar moves and extended instrumental textures, like in the long and dramatic ''Last ride into the sun''.

Berry's career remained fairly connected with the easier side of Rock music, both via his solo releases and after the formation of his more steady band over the years, Alliance.He has been also a member of the Christmas-inspired Art Rock group The December People.

''Pilgrimage to a point'' is not only Berry's most progressive album.It is a sum of his memorable stint with GTR and 3 next to some of the most significant Prog figures of all times.Recommended, especially for fans of melodic Prog/Art Rock, who are not afraid of a more pompous approach.

Report this review (#1106826)
Posted Saturday, January 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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