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Mars Hollow - World In Front Of Me CD (album) cover


Mars Hollow

Crossover Prog

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4 stars It's not often that you can find a band that releases very good, consistent albums. Mars Hollow, though, is one of those bands that have kept it up in their sophomore release. After the release of their self titled debut, which received very high acclaim, they have come around again and produced something that might even be better. "World in Front of Me" is a very original album that sounds a lot like Marillion, ELP, and Yes. Mars Hollow plays a cool style of progressive rock that is very enjoyable, and easy to listen to.

Produced by Billy Sherwood (Yes, Circa, World Trade) and mastered by David Javu Morse (David Bowie, Alice in Chains, Frank Zappa), this release already has the making of a good album. Besides this, the musicianship is absolutely outstanding from John Baker, Jerry Beller, Kerry Chicoine, and Steve Mauk. Unlike most bands, every musician in Mars Hollow contributes on vocals, which shows through in their music and leads to great vocal passages. This is evident right off the bat with "Walk on Alone", which also features great keyboard riffs by Steve Mauk besides the great vocals from every member in the group.

Not one song on this album lacks any drive what so ever, and that makes the album all the better. My favorite track has to be "Voices" which has a very symphonic prog feel to it, closely relating to the likes of prog giants Yes and Rush. The complex time signatures add a really nice touch and really lure the listener into the album. To be honest every song on this album puts the listener in for a nice treat. "Prelude" once again shows Steve Mauk's talent as a pianist and is a great lead into the second epic on the album, "World in Front of Me".

The production of this album fits perfectly, offering up a warm 70's style prog feel to the album.

10T Records have definitely hit a jackpot with Mars Hollow's newest release "World in Front of Me". The beautiful bass and guitar riffs throughout provide a great underlying grove to the vocals and are sure to please any listener. Every person who calls themselves a prog fan should pick this album up at the soonest possible moment. Yes, it's that good and well deserving of 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#459376)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 2010 debut effort from Mars Hollow was considered one of the year's best by many prog rock fans, and now (just a year later) they're back with their sophomore album. With its fantastic compositions, terrific musicianship, and sleek modern sound, World in Front of Me will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the prog rock community once again. Fans of seventies-influenced prog rock that aren't hesitant to the newer generation of symphonic prog should find plenty to love here. Mars Hollow has proven their worth with this outstanding album; this is surely among the best releases I've heard this year.

Mars Hollow plays a style of symphonic prog with influences from Spock's Beard, Yes, and especially Kansas. Right from the very beginning of "Walk on Alone" it's clear that Mars Hollow has given classics like Leftoverture and Close to the Edge more than a few spins. Mars Hollow does wear their influences on their sleeves, but I wouldn't necessarily consider that a detriment when one considers how spectacular every aspect of the music itself is. For one, the musicianship is excellent across the board. The lush keyboard work from Steve Mauk, the excellent guitar playing from John Baker, the Chris Squire-esque bass playing from Kerry Chicoine, and Jerry Beller's top-notch drumwork all make for an excellent-sounding group. The vocal department of Mars Hollow is also excellent; every band member contributes their pipes here, creating some great vocal harmonies that hint towards the likes of Spock's Beard or The Flower Kings.

World in Front of Me was produced by Billy Sherwood and mastered by David Javu Morse, so expect an extremely professional-sounding album. The bass playing from Kerry Chicoine is extremely commanding (as it should be) and the keyboards and vocals are mixed perfectly. The overall sound comes across as a bit thin to me (especially in the drum department), but it should still undoubtedly please most prog fans.

It seems that Mars Hollow have crafted another winner with their sophomore album; World in Front of Me should make many "best of 2011" lists and keep progressive rock fans satisfied for years to come. These guys are becoming one of the biggest forces in the modern prog rock scene, and World in Front of Me is a defining statement that every fan of the genre should further investigate. If you like your prog rock to be extremely complex and seventies-oriented, yet still fresh and accessible, this is an essential purchase. 4 stars are well deserved for this terrific album. 10T Records has definitely chalked up another winner!

Report this review (#461426)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mars Hollow "World in Front of Me" is the sophomore offering from this Symphonic/hard rock band from LA. This time around they are in the capable hands of producer engineer Billy Sherwood. While the band admits the first album was bit more disjointed in its conception this one flows completely like a well painted landscape.

The band is very tight and has a great chemistry together. The bass(Kerry Chicoine) and drums(Jerry Beller) complement each other so well while not glued at the hip and provide a great foundation for the other layers of the band Guitarist (John Baker) and Keyboards (Steve Mauk) who add some very tasteful colorings that neither are overpowering nor understated (that is a very hard thing to do btw). The vocals of John Baker are interesting and while not having a lot of dynamic range certainly is enough fill up that needed portion of the music. To be honest I am not a huge fan of Jon Anderson nor Geddy Lee's overall vocals but certainly respect what they do in my opinion John falls into this category. I love the fact you can understand what he is singing and he delivers very memorable vocal lines. Now to the music!

The CD starts off with Walk on Alone that sets the tone for the rest of the CD a sort of 12 minute overture. It starts off with an acappella vocal that reminds me of Kansas and breaks immediately into a an energetic instrumental part that sounds like so much great American prog rock it has to make you smile. It is like all the good bands rolled up into one. My favorite part of it comes around the 5:30 minute mark with a dissonant synth line that breaks into a great gallop. Spock's Beard meets Kansas.

Voices is really diverse song. Disturbing in the lyrics and dark musical backdrop for the vocal but has some outstanding musical swells that then crash back into the dark vocal. Somehow the things you wish Pink Floyd had done sometimes.

That brings us from Voices to Weapons (sense a theme here boys and girls? The next song is called What Have I Done) this one has little quirky vocal line I seem very attracted to for some reason. Some really cool analog synth patches in the solo and great grooves laid down by Chicone and Beller throughout the song. The internal struggle continues in What Have I Done as the music goes from a quite introspective self examination at the beginning to a violent explosion of realization to close out the song with the question what have I done to end up like this being the key line. I am complete sucker for songs like this.

Mind over Matter is a ballad that sort of transitions the listener to final piece(s) of the CD. Unfortunately while well played and sung it really is not memorable to this listener and almost seems incomplete. The melody is good but a bit underdeveloped. This could have been better (In my best Chef Ramsey voice).

The final two pieces that round out the CD are Prelude and World in Front of Me. Prelude is a solo piano piece by Mauk who does a very good job of moving from one theme to another that also moves into the opening of World in Front of Me. I am sure this is how it plays live. Tthe opening few minutes are sort of physecdelic intro to the vocal that brings us out of the depths of despair from a few songs ago to the hope of the new day ahead of us. The music almost is a reprise of some themes from the Walk on Alone but not really. It is more the resolution of that song as the subject resolves to come back from the setback to get back to their life. A very common theme for many of us really and most of us can relate to this.

All in all a solid offering from a solid band. To be truthful Mars Hallow is not breaking any new musical ground but neither are they regressing into sounding exactly like something else. They take their influences and mold them into something they can call their own and they do it competently and lead you on a great journey. I love the fact they didn't cram everything on here to get to 1.5 hours on the CD. This is 47 pretty satisfying minutes. Better to leave people wanting more than give them too much. Finally, Kudos to Billy Sherwood's work on the production this thing is an eargasam with headphones on. I don't think Mars Hollow will walk alone very much with products like this. You have made lots of friends. Great Job! 4 Stars

Report this review (#462347)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars When last we gathered, less than one year ago, I suggested that Mars Hollow was writing progressive rock film scores and that they had the address of our mind's eye. Since that time the band has written and recorded the remarkable "World In Front of Me" (10t Records), a more polished and assured assemblage of set pieces as songs that hones and comes closer to realizing the "cinematic vision" that I felt was introduced and displayed in their self-titled debut.

Most notably, Mars Hollow returns with a new producer; Billy Sherwood has harnessed the band's 70's progressive rock zeitgeist superbly while guiding the development of their signature sound (of which he also mixed) through 7 new robust and lush aural landscapes from within which the character driven lyrics have become more intimate and immediate, accessible and less abstract, while still maintaining the open metaphors needed for artistic distance.

There is a defined story arc to "World In Front of Me" - the art house, embarrassment of riches that was the cornucopia of subplots and themes spilled across the songs of "Mars Hollow" has been focused here into a clearer, more "linear" narrative centering on the dissolution of a relationship: there is the sneaking suspicion and despair of "Walk On Alone", the fall from grace, loss of identity and surfacing of inner demons that is "Voices", the self-preservation of "Weapon", the self-evaluation and departure of "What Have I Done?", the perseverance and realizations of "Mind Over Matter", and the transition of "Prelude" into the inner peace and ultimate redemption of the title track "World In Front of Me".

An example of that focus of vision can be seen when comparing the songs "Wait For Me" from "Mars Hollow" and "What Have I Done" from "World In Front of Me"; in the hectic, city sprawl and pell-mell rush of "Wait For Me" you can almost feel the brilliant sunshine and heat as the music scrambles along with the protagonist of the song as he loses faith and belief in the world around him (has he yet to confront the world in front of him?) ... and then 6 minutes into the song we get this wholly unexpected, poignant transition from outer world to inner world:

I'll never find someone like you

Never a brighter light for two

Where is the sunshine I once knew

Shine down and warm the darkest blue

Mars Hollow was working on a much broader canvas then and yet they had tipped their hand - incredibly, written *not one year later*, it was consummately satisfying to recognize the development of that same subplot as the premise of the entire song "What Have I Done" ... and we are rewarded with this bridge which harkens back to "Wait For Me":

Shoots of pain inside me bring me back

Adrenaline revive me from the black

Let me see the sunshine - no more night

And walk with you just one time

Give me life, give me life, give me life

It is difficult for me to put my finger on exactly how Mars Hollow accomplishes such an all encompassing sensual and cerebral experience of music, word and craft - it's a bit like trying to put your finger on a bead of mercury as it rolls across the table. It is simply the nature of the element - in this case elements. Regardless, it is wonderful and great fun to escape again under the headphones and be able to engage my imagination as I once did in my youth under the influence of the minstrel tongue-in-cheek follies of Jethro Tull, the English countryside grandeur and subsurface darkness of Genesis, the alienation and bleak inner space travel of Pink Floyd and the sideshow romp and circumstance of ELP. Here's what I heard when listening to "What Have I Done":

Int. - Kitchen - Evening

A match is struck and held down to the burnt stub of a candle sitting askew in a saucer. The flame sizzles and catches and rises revealing an empty table. A tumbler holding dark liquid is set down into the halo of nervous light quickly followed by two arms with shirt sleeves rolled up at the cuff that rest upon the table. The hands grasp, draw in and envelope the glass - caress it.

MAN (voice from the dark): My insides ... they tell me something's wrong. My outsides ... they told you all along. Get away from me - what I mean is "I love you". Now I deceive ... what's happened to me?

The hands draw the glass and slides it up off the table and out of the candle's light.

MAN: I don't know where it all went wrong. What have I done to end up like this?

The dark shape of THE MAN walks into the moonlight at the window. Awash in the night's glow, he looks out at the moon broken upon the troubled water of the river running outside.

MAN: My brain's clean - no emotion now. I'm crazy and not a lot of fun. (he drinks) So take me down and dance around the shore - the water sound it's bringing me back ... I don't know where it all went wrong. What have I done to end up like this?

He drains his drink and drops the tumbler into the sink.

MAN: Shoots of pain inside me bring me back - adrenaline revive me from the black ... let me see the sunshine - no more night - and walk with you just one time. (shaking his head) Give me life, give me life, give me life ...

He turns from the window at the sound of another person entering the dark behind him. It is the silhouette of A WOMAN just out of reach of the moonlight.

MAN: It's over. (sotto voce) Turn on the waterworks. I know her - that only makes it worse. (to her) I love you - what I mean is get away. I run from you ... (he extends a hand) it's my mistake.

The woman disappears back into the darkness of the house.

MAN: I don't know where it all went wrong. What have I done to end up like this?

A tumult and concussion of drawers and doors being opened and closed fill the air.

MAN (calling into the dark house): Shoots of pain inside me bring me back - adrenaline revive me from the black ... let me see the sunshine - no more night - and walk with you just one time ...

Then a brief moment of silence ... from which emerges a shadow that rushes past him and out the door bursting through, leaving it open as the screen door slams shut behind her.

MAN: Give me life, give me life, give me life ...

She hurries heavily down the porch steps and is away into the night. END SCENE

Or something like that. Your mileage may vary on this trip.

Of course there is a flip side to every coin ... with more polish and production value come the tendency and inherent "danger" to smooth out any edges that may have existed and, if the old adage is to believed that God (or whomsoever is in charge) is in the imperfections, therein lies the potential to buff away what makes this band so special and unique (and thereby delivering a more accessible, gasp, "commercial" work). Although I will miss the "everything but the kitchen sink" excitement and delivery of their debut album, I can confidently say that "World In Front of Me" is a more focused, mature and accomplished work of staggering growth for this band.

I'll even go a step further (which may get me into trouble but what the hell) ... let's all get in the way-back machine for a moment, shall we?

"World In Front of Me" reminds me of "Wind and Wuthering", which I think is the true bridge and turning point between the early experimental Genesis of Peter Gabriel with that of the early Phil Collins led, "commercial" Genesis (and not "Trick of The Tail" released earlier that same year) ... an underrated work, there is a more of a structured concept and honing of sound to "Wind and Wuthering" that would eventually become the band's hallmark and signature post-Gabriel, and though the lyrics on "World In Front of Me" are less abstract and whimsical than that of "Wind and Wuthering" (well, they're not Englishmen) they do brood and tend to be introspective (though in a Southern Californian way) and they have taken as much of a quantum leap forward in development and direction. I dare say, thinking in these parameters and keeping the releases in proper perspective, that "World InFront of Me" is a better and stronger *transitional* album than "Wind and Wuthering" was for Genesis - all of the songs here are exceptional and stay within themselves and remain on course developing the musical and lyrical themes in incremental ways without meandering or spilling over as was the tendency of some songs on that seminal (in my mind) Genesis release way back in 1976. What is astonishing is that Mars Hollow has accomplished this in *less than a year* and on their sophomore release. It boggles what few remaining rusted synapses that I have left to heat up thinking of this ... but then, what the hell do I know?

The music itself is no mere pastiche of references and influences, either - and I will not get into playing the reference game, there have been many fine reviews of this album already to have done so by folks far more informed than I in this matter - suffice to say that Mars Hollow has clearly loved and digested such influences and have made them their own. I will repeat what I said verbatim on my review of their debut album because it carries even more weight here: "John Baker (guitar/leadvocals), Kerry Chicoine (bass/vocals), Jerry Beller (drums/vocals) and SteveMach (keyboards/vocals) are all smart, experienced musicians who know the craft of writing progressive rock music, though their music is not a static construct, not a cathedral with architectural influences to be found, recognized and understood (with one's hands behind one's back) but a dynamic listening environment to be experienced and participated in. They could have gone the "easy" route - they could have written the equivalent to what novelists call "teaching books" (books with obvious themes and messages), they have the knowledge and ability to do so - but rather they chose to craft this album with love and honesty. There is not a cynical song on this album." Indeed. Not only that but they are playful and serious and more individually expansive in their performances this time out, too.

Though not as broad a sound stage (in my headphones anyway) as "Mars Hollow", "World In Front of Me" has a more significant depth of field than its predecessor with the usual superb clarity of tone and instrumentation present on all songs. The attention to detail and placement of sounds across the stage are exceptional and exact. John Baker plays the paradoxical part of the "protagonist" with fragility and strength - he is emotive and assured and poignant (you can't help but root for his character) - and his guitar work is subtle and deceptively simple. Kerry Chicoine lays down powerful, expressive and punctuating lines of bass that not only reverberate throughout the entire terra firma of the album but serve as the repercussion to the percussion of Jerry Beller who drums as as if channeling Neil Peart and Alan White - they both are, as usual, consistently interesting and entertaining. Last but not least, Steve Mach provides keyboards that are at once bittersweet, soaring with orchestration and flights of fancy and playful to the core while his son Trevor makes an appearance to play the mournful and fulsome cello that opens "What Have I Done".

I need to change my rating of the first Mars Hollow album to 4.5 stars - as I had said, it was not a "masterpiece" but I still consider it a "must have" for all prog collectors ... this allows me to rate "World In Front of Me" as a 4 star release; my hands are a bit tied by the paucity of rating choices in that I don't think that this is a "must have" but I do think that it is a "should have" - I truly feel that this will be remembered as a seminal work in the maturation and development of Mars Hollow and as a stepping stone to a future that can only hold that impending "masterpiece".

Report this review (#468847)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am tempted to copy Jon Landau's famous "I have seen the future of rock'n'roll at it is called Bruce Springsteen" line in a gig review back in 1975 as the opening salvo on this review. But if I started this review with that borrowed line, it would sound like a cheap cliche.

But I think you get my drift.......

Mars Hollow is a much hyped band these days. Which is a double edged sword. But in this case, the hype has substance.

.......So they must have had their tongue firmly glued into their cheeks when they starts this album with a big nod/tribute to Kansas. The cheesy choir...... well, you can either laugh out loud or smirk. It depends on the level of your cynical views on the music world. The rest of the album shoots of like a rocket towards the sun though. The opening song Walk On Alone, after passing the smelly cheese board, is excellent with a solid build up and theme. The next song Voices is perhaps the most catchy one with a solid nod towards Neal Morse and Spock's Beard. Voices is also my favorite song here.

And this is where we find Mars Hollow's sound. Somewhere between Kansas and Spock's Beard. Mars Hollow draws on the American symphonic prog tradition instead of looking envious at the English symphonic prog tradition. Mars Hollow is born in the USA and they let you know it throughout this album. The music is very elegant throughout. The musicians does a brilliant job. The sound is superb with a good blend of symph and heavy prog. They also include a lot of vintage Hammond organs in their sound. The same goes for vocal harmonies. The result is a warm, organic sound. Yes, a blend of Kansas and Spock's Beard is the best label this album can get.

The quality is great throughout and is excellent through the first two songs. The final song, the title track no less, is also brilliant. In other words; this is a great album. But I have heard that Mars Hollow is far better on stage than on this album............ Oh hollow Mars !!!!!!!!!

4.5 stars

Report this review (#470630)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'World In Front Of Me' - Mars Hollow (8/10)

Hitting the scene last year with their self-titled debut, Mars Hollow has been the object of some acclaim and word-of-mouth advertising around the prog rock community. With a highly melodic, somewhat modern take on prog, Mars Hollow has a promising sound to them, and they have took no time to churn out a second album. 2011's 'World In Front Of Me' has been hailed as an even greater piece of work than the first, and with that, my curiosity was sparked. When I have high expectations for a band, all too often I will be left disappointed by the music, wondering why they were so hyped up in the first place. With Mars Hollow however, there is something really exciting at work. Although I would not go so far as to say that the band has an entirely original sound, Mars Hollow's very melodic and catchy, yet complex style of rock music keeps me coming back.

There will be some obvious comparisons made to neo-prog and symphonic legends like Marillion or Kansas, but to me, Mars Hollow most echoes the mid-career sounds of Rush. The charismatic higher-register vocals remind me greatly of Geddy Lee or Jon Anderson, and the instrumentation is a nice combination of old and new, making use of vintage synthesizer sounds, but paired with guitars that do not sound out of place in modern rock. Perhaps the best thing about Mars Hollow is the fact that in a genre that is infamous for displacing melodies, they often focus their songwriting around it. Many of the songs here have catchy choruses that will have a listener nonchalantly humming along to them before the song is finished. Greatest among these is the catchy single-worthy 'Weapon', which while not being the finest that 'World In Front Of Me' has to offer, is easily the most memorable, featuring a vocal chorus that only intensive electro shock treatments would be able to erase from my mind.

While the middle of the album focuses more on Mars Hollow's more concise songwriting, the highlights here are the two longer songs here, which bookend the record. 'Walk On Alone' and the title track maintain the melodies that Mars Hollow leans upon so heavily, but there's also a supplemental focus on the band's work as instrumentalists, where they hop off on proggy arrangements. The guitars are doused in helpings of jazz, and the bass work of Kerry Chicoine is always impressive, crafting interesting lines even while the guitars are in full swing. The drums do not have a great deal variety of sound to them, but Jerry Beller really tears them apart during the band's instrumental segments. Steve Mauk's keyboard work gives the band their vintage sound, focusing on accentuating many of the guitar parts, save for the solos, where Mauk's tastefully melodic synth work takes the centerstage. Possibly the best part about Mars Hollow however are the vocal harmonies, which the band is certainly not afraid to use. Although the lead vocals are always at the forefront, all members here sing, and they create lush arrangements that make the melodies shine brightly.

Mars Hollow does not yet have the original sound to them or challenging arrangements that could thrust them into the realm of mastery, but with 'World In Front Of Me', they have proven to me that they are near the front of the modern prog rock scene. And assuming they keep up this rate of releasing a new album every year, I am really excited to see what lies in wait for this excellent band.

Report this review (#472284)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Judging from all the positive reviews i've seen across the net for this album I might be the only one to give this a 3 star review on this site. But hey that's fine by me, these guys deserve all this positive feedback. I was really bowled over by their debut (4.5 stars) and I must admit my expectations were high for this one, especially with so many people saying this was even better. I guess this just proves there no accounting for taste. Billy Sherwood is the producer this time around. I wish I could explain what it is specifically that makes this a 3 star record for me. I like it but it's just not clicking at all like the debut and i've listened to this one plenty of times.Go figure ?

"Walk On Alone" is quite the opener that for me gets off on the wrong foot with the acapella singing.That changes quickly though as it kicks in with the drums and keys standing out.The chunky bass is prominant before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles back as the vocals arrive. Some brief processed vocals after 8 1/2 minutes as it stays relaxed sounding.The instrumental section that follows is more powerful, then the vocals return after 10 minutes. Bass and organ standout late.

"Voices" settles quickly with vocals but it picks up again. An uptempo instrumental section comes in at 2 1/2 minutes with organ. I like the synths and drums 5 minutes in.

"Weapon" has a good intro then we get a calm with vocals. It picks back up and the organ comes in.Vocals are back 5 minutes in. "What Have I Done" has some nice sounding bass in this relaxed intro. Reserved vocals just before a minute. It picks up then settles back as contrasts continue. A good synth led instrumental passage ends it.

"Mind Over Matter" features vocals and a laid back guitar melody. Melancholic synths replace the vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. "Prelude" is another short track but this one has piano throughout.

"World In Front Of Me" has some good guitar before 2 1/2 minutes then the vocals follow.The bass is again prominant and we even get some vocal melodies at one point. Piano before 6 1/2 minutes then it builds. Guitar leads after 10 minutes.

I wish I could be more enthusiastic but at least their debut will always have a place in my rotation.

Report this review (#505515)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars MARS HOLLOW took only one year to release their sophomore album. It features seven songs with a length of 48 minutes. If someone wants to have a clue about stylistical similarities, I would name Presto Ballet, IZZ or Kansas, but please don't take this too seriously. They sound rather unique, to make it clear. Musicianship is great overall, especially bass player Kerry Chicoine and guitarist John Baker who are excellent vocalists on top of it. Keyboardist Steve Mauk acts a bit restrained, others will say not overpowering. Jerry Beller's drums and the bass guitar fairly complement each other and care for the necessary drive.

So the band play very compact and lively. There's some room for (short) instrumental solo excursions either. That said both guitarists have their special moments on the excellent epic Walk On Alone which lyrically seems to reflect some relationship problems. Voices convinces me with its special sense of melody and a strong symphonic appeal. 'Weapon in my hand' ... the following song showcases a catchy refrain, evidently dedicated to appeal to a regular rock music fan with hit potential? No, I won't say that this ever was their intention because this is combined with a tricky structure to something entertaining moreover.

World In Front Of Me is the second to cross the ten minute mark, again provided with a catchy refrain. Overall this comes close to the Flower Kings somehow, keyboards are prominant, great dynamics, some groovy parts - a nice workout. This album has become shorter as the debut, in any case a proper effort from this US quartet, as for the initial three songs and the title track substantial really. Symphonic and AOR elements are nicely put together in order to reach for highly melodic songs. Billy Sherwood has a finger in the pie here when it comes to the production - 3.5 stars

Report this review (#510813)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band MARS HOLLOW is based in Southern California and made quite a splash when they released their debut album in 2010. One year later they have been booked for and performed at festivals in the US and Mexico, having had a handful or so additional concert opportunities, and have managed to write, record and now release a new album as well. This, their latest, excursion is called "World in Front of Me", and as with their previous CD it was issued by the US label 10t Records.

Strong melodies set within a compositional context harking back to 70's art rock in general and symphonic progressive rock in particular are, I think, a neat summary of what Mars Hollow has to offer, performed with joy, liberally flavored with positive moods and harmonic details. Nothing groundbreaking, but a charming production that should find favor amongst many who tend to look back to the 70's as the golden age of rock music.

Report this review (#537746)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant 2nd studio album from this North-Americam band. In spite of the obivious influences from the master of progressive-rock of the 70's, such as, YES, GENESIS, EL&PALMER, GENTLE GIANT, RUSH and their countrymen from KANSAS, they get put in their music a certain "smell" of modern music and in no moment sounding like a "cheap copy" from the above mentioned musical period. Beside this the disk flows easily and each track awake in the listener a almost frenetic desire to hear the next track. All of themes are very pleasant, since the introducion choir in track 1 " Walk on Alone" passing to the rhythmic section and the "dialogue" between keyboards and eletric guitar in the track 3 "Weapon" (one of the best moments in this album) and the magistral last track "World in front of me" . My rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#627029)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 really

Mars Hollow from USA and their second offer from 2011 World in front of me created a good blend between prog moments with melodic aprach almost pop arrangements. There are some very nice vocal lines and quite strong melodies and catchy parts, the opening 12 min plus track Walk On Alone is excellent and sets the mood for the entire album. I like that the sound and atmosphere are joyful , the musicinship is great, each one bringing the best they have. I very nice release for me and a pleasent listning from start to finish. Billy Sherwood is also present here with the production. For fans of Spock's Beard and specially those who have a more melodic aproach in their prog sound.

Report this review (#1115369)
Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 | Review Permalink

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