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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Classic Rock presents: Prognosis 16 CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

2.11 | 7 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars Prognosis 16 is the free CD with Classic Rock presents Prog magazine. This sampler is a real mixed bag with some downright creepy experimental works likely to scare off the average music listener.

It begins with sheer experimentation with 'thenor's 'Laudanum Tusk' and I couldn't wait for this to end. The extreme sparseness and doomy atmosphere works on a nightmarish level I guess, but it is not entertaining in the slightest and far too weird even for my jaded sensibilities. It is unpleasant, unfriendly out of sync improvisation that require infinite patience to listen to, similar to Sunn O))).

Moving on, we have the popular Twelfth Night and a long 12 minute live song called 'Creepshow'. I had no idea what to expect but this was quite good overall. Clean vocals with emotion, and ambient mellotron nuances. The ethereal atmosphere is made with tranquil soundscapes and acoustics. The guitars loom heavier and are decidedly out of sync with the keyboards. The competing instruments are an innovation but my favourite part is the buzzsaw synthesizer sounds that are retro, very much like 80s Gary Numan. The vocals are not my favourite style, in parts too screechy in the falsetto, and very estranged or strained like Christian Vander's style when he screeches, though he makes it work with Magma somehow. There is certainly experimentation with some diverse sections and it builds to some great moments instrumentally if one can put up with the caterwauling vocals. The bassline is outstanding as are all the musicians, and there is a strange section of spoken narrative. I will have to check out more from Twelfth Night that is not recorded live.

John Young's 'Childhood's End' is a keyboard domination of very progressive sounds. The track is a rendition from 'Live at the Classic Rock Society' influenced by Wakeman or Asia's style. The virtuoso piano is classical style and a heavier guitar embellishment augments the feel. It has a balladic feel, some nice vocals and builds very slowly. I never really got into Asia and its non prog like vibe and this is similar. It is okay though nothing exceptional. It wears out its welcome well before the 8 minutes are up.

Next is UK's Jebo with 'Nothing Ever Works That Way' from 'Settle Up Or Settle Down' album. They have an acoustic style here and some great rhythms as it gets heavier into an infectious melody. The confident vocals are terrific. I really liked this track a lot and will seek out more from Jebo.

Liam Davison's 'The Way We Were' is another guitar driven song with some Hammond crunches to power it along. It settles in the verses with psychedelic vocals with the shimmering 70s effect I have heard many times. The quiet serenity of the track is contrasted with blasts of instrumentation.

Death by Orchestra are becoming legendary and are represented by 'For You No Tomorrow'. I love the way the orchestra arrangements are juxtaposed by grinding distorted riffing guitars. The vocals are raucous but it works as a sample of some of this inventive artist's work.

Talanas are represented by 'Antiphon' and the vocalist is a real turn off for me with caustic death metal growls, sounding like he gargles gravel for breakfast. Once again I was thankful when this ended. The breakneck speed riffs are brutal but all is ruined by those maniacal death growls which are never welcome in my opinion when there is no let up from the constant argh! sound. This is also an evil sounding track, very nasty vocals and extreme Gothica lyrics; therefore not for me, though the thrash riffs are great.

Matt Stevens' '8.19' is next and I have always been enamoured by his easy listening style. It is a fine instrumental but rather repetitive. Nothing wrong with it though and it is worth a listen.

Sean Filkins' 'The English Eccentric' is a terrific song with polyrhythmic patterns and some great keyboard work. The vocals are well performed with an original style and are easy to hear. Thankfully it is the second longest song here and never falters in its driving rhythmic beauty. The instrumentation is deftly handled and it is great the way the tempo changes and progresses. The storyteller vocals are folky in style and compliment the music. A very ambient keyboard vibe is present and sudden outbursts of guitar and spatterings of percussion. The lead break with wah-wah pedal is terrific making this a definitive highlight of the sampler.

The Curator follows with 'The Leaves Come Down', a very short song. The vocals are mixed to the front and there is beatific piano motif. It almost feels like cabaret for a while, a solo artist tinkling away the ivories with reflective vocals. The violin is peaceful and a definite enhancement, but it is all too sparse and sombre for its own good.

BunChakeze's 'Whose Dream?' ends the compilation in style, a band that impressed with their debut and certainly is a highlight here with their title track from the album. 'Whose Dream' is acoustic beauty, with a nice gentle vocal delivery. Lyrics are reflective; 'you're running on seas preparing to go whose dream are you dreaming,' you know it sounds like the vocal style of Pink Floyd's 'Pigs on the Wing' at least the melody, but better vocal style than Roger Waters from Joey Lugassy. The ambience of sustained key pads and wind howling effects are terrific... 'screaming and shouting outside they're wild... pitching their tents just like a child...' the lyrics are part of the emotive vibe and then the soaring guitars of Colin Tench take it to another level. A satisfactory track for certain but I already have this on the actual album.

So ends this poor sampler. The one or two excellent tracks are hampered by a sea of mediocrity. Many of these artists I would never return to as this sample of their work did nothing for me. Samplers should at least include some accessible tracks with excellent variation but this is very disappointing indeed and one of the worst samplers from the magazine.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 2/5 |


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