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Steve Bonino

Crossover Prog

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Steve Bonino The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 album cover
3.98 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Grand Finale (6:09)
2. Under the Dome (3:45)
3. The Dark Light Divide (6:30)
4. So Familiar (3:30)
5. City Out of Time (5:01)
6. Alien Progeny (3:50)
7. Broken Record (4:50)
8. Hyperspeed Overdrive (3:17)
9. Codex (2:01)
10. The Ancient Sumerian (3:26)
11. Fear (7:50)

Total Time 50:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Bonino / vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming, composer, mixing & production

- Peter Matuchniak / lead guitar (3,5,11)
- Erik Johnson / rhythm guitar (5)
- Mike Lewis / drums (1,10)
- Jimmy Keegan / drums (3)
- Marco Minnemann / drums (8)
- Seth Lewis / backing vocals (1)

Releases information

CD Melodic Revolution Records - MRRCD 22168 (2019, US)

Digital album

Thanks to kev rowland for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STEVE BONINO The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STEVE BONINO The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars It doesn't take a genius to work out that this is album is the follow-up to Steve's wonderful concept album 'Stargazer', as not only is there a '2' in the title the album art is also a direct follow-up. The story here takes place some 20 years on from where the last album finished, and interestingly has been left so Steve can return for a third album if he so desires. Although it may seem this is a band album, yet again it is Steve displaying his multi-instrumental skills as well as bringing in some friends to help him out. None of these were involved in the other album, but with long-time associates Peter Matuchniak and Jimmy Keegan (both who are in Steve's live band), plus the likes of Marco Minnemann, they all slot right into the groove.

Steve's combination of melodic rock, progressive rock, and damn easy to listen to hook-laded songs always make his albums a delight from start to end. The story is detailing in the fold-out digipak, but the lyrics clearly tell it as well, and the result is something which really does need listening to from start to end, as opposed to being dipped in and out of (and certainly never to be played on shuffle, a concept I have never managed to get my head around). While all those involved are masters of their craft, Steve's albums are always all about the songs as opposed to 'look at me aren't I clever' workouts. He can move from Seventies funk and soul into hard rock, with the bass being as important as the guitar, using dated keyboards, or we can be driven into staccato repeated riffs with piano. The ideas never stop coming, the album keeps moving forward and the listener is taken with it.

I listen to a great deal of music which can be termed intense, from complex prog to technical death metal, improvised jazz, avant garde, and everything in between. Sometimes I want to listen to great tunes without having to work too hard at it, music which is designed for me to enjoy on every level as opposed to feeling I am being shouted at. Steve delivers time and again, and here is yet another album which is a delight from the first note to the very last.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Coincidences can really be uncanny. Earlier this year I watched a video on YouTube about the Electric Universe Theory and another about the Saturn Theory at the suggestion of a friend. Subsequent visits to YouTube delivered various "theory" videos to my suggested viewing stream, and one such video was about ancient Sumerian tablets that tell us the Sumerian gods known as the Anunnaki were actually extraterrestrial beings that came to earth and delivered agricultural technology to human kind. There was even a thought-provoking video about the true origins of Eden that suggested "God" and "Satan" were actually different Anunnaki overlords and that all of Western religion's mythology is actually based on real events that occurred during the last visit of the Anunnaki alien beings. Not that I believed it, but it sure made for a good story. And hey, what if it were true?

The coincidence was that barely a couple of weeks later, Steve Bonino, whom I knew about through his work on with Bomber Goggles and his appearance on albums by Peter Matuchniak, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing his latest release entitled "Stargazer II". There had been a fair bit of buzz about it on Facebook and so I eagerly accepted. Well, well, wouldn't you know it? The story here in part two of the Stargazer saga includes ancient Sumerian tablets and the discovery that humans beings originated somewhere else in the galaxy. The Anunnaki were indeed alien visitors to earth!

Alright, let's back up a little in the story. The first Stargazer album told the story of an ecologically wrecked earth, and a desperate attempt to ensure the survival of the human race by sending several thousand select individuals off into space on a huge vessel to repopulate to another planet. The planet, known as Proxima B, is described in the story, and the new settlers must deal with a higher gravity, x-ray bombardment, and other challenges. However, the human race survives twenty years into the future and it seems we are going to make it!

In the sequel, a dome is constructed so that people can go outdoors safe from the harmful effects of radiation, and an exploration team discover the remains of an ancient city. Text documents found in the city are brought back for scrutiny and a specialist in Sumerian writing recognizes the alien text as the same as what is found on earth. The album ends with an opening for a third installment in the story.

Aside from the story, which I find compelling and exciting, Steve Bonino and company have created an album diverse in style but without trying to cover all bases and thus they avoid stretching themselves too thin. The music is based on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums with some additional instruments on some tunes. In each song, the story plays out chapter by chapter, sometimes speedy and exciting, sometimes slower and contemplative. There's the folky "Under the Dome" with some enjoyable acoustic instruments and the exciting instrumental "Hyperspeed Overdrive". "Fear" is a personal favourite of mine as well for it's classic heavy prog sound in parts.

Steve has written an album of short songs, some with more lyrics than others, in crossover prog fashion; there's an obvious necessity for songs that tell parts of the story but still no shortage of creativity or range of musical expression. The album moves along at a good pace but with each track having something to offer both lyrically and musically. Short spoken monologues help push forward parts of the story or elucidate events.

I like "Stargazer" quite a lot, but "Stargazer II" sounds like the music has taken a step up. I just find the music to be that much more enjoyable, good though the first album is. One thing I really appreciate is that the music on this album doesn't try to overtake the story. There is a nice balance between lyrics and storyline and instrumental moments.

To conclude, I really like the story here and I can get into the music of the individual tracks. It's obvious the effort Mr. Bonino made to bring his vision to life in the songs. I'm looking forward to hearing what happens in part three!

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