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PROG RELATED

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Related definition



No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.
Being influenced by progressive rock is hardly the only factor we look at, and in some periods of musical history it is almost meaningless, but still, it is almost a given that most of the artists listed in prog-related were influenced by the development of progressive rock.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture.
A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
- Easy Money

Prog Related Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Prog Related | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.38 | 805 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.35 | 562 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.27 | 662 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.24 | 652 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.23 | 473 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.19 | 588 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.16 | 530 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.16 | 354 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.15 | 374 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.18 | 264 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.11 | 487 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.08 | 508 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.08 | 494 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.03 | 598 ratings
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI
Led Zeppelin
4.10 | 261 ratings
HOUNDS OF LOVE
Bush, Kate
4.17 | 154 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue Öyster Cult
4.03 | 381 ratings
HEAVEN AND HELL
Black Sabbath
4.00 | 502 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
3.98 | 650 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin
4.01 | 379 ratings
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Iron Maiden

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Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.90 | 45 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Nash The Slash would soon get off the FM vehicle, as he thought that the presence of a drummer forced the band towards more commercial music.Ironically he pursued a solo career, which was way more commercial stylewise, compared to FM's early albums.He was replaced by Ben Mink, yet another violin/mandolin player of Canadian-Polish descent, who had previously played in the Folk Rock act Stringband.In late-77' the new FM trio visited the Phase One Recording Studios in Toronto and recorded a second album with the direct to disc recording method, lacking the use of recording tapes.The album was originally released in 1978 as ''Direct to disc'' on the small Labyrinth Records, while a few other reissues have surfaced later, some of them under the title ''Headroom''.

The album consists of only two sidelong tracks, each clocking at about 15 minutes.''Headroom'' is the introduction, a 5-theme piece, which combines elements from Jazz, Space Rock and Electronic Music.In fact this time FM sounded more focused and determined on the style they followed.Their sound was very polished and refined with melodic violin drives by Mink and a spacey bass performance by Hawkins, surrounded by the omnipresent synthesizers in an electronic enviroment.The music is pretty smooth with DIXIE DREGS references and very limited vocals, often passing through Lounge Jazz moments, ending up to be trully ethereal, but lacking some of the debut's dynamics.''Border crossing'' is divided in four parts and sounds a bit more Electronic-drenched that the opening piece, but also a bit more versatile.One certain reason are the opening notes, performed on electric mandolin and the constant change of moods.Electronic ambiences, Fusion orientations, a slight Neo Prog feel during the vocal parts and strong Classical hints towards the end, reminding of EDDIE JOBSON.There are however a couple of dead holes with minimalistic synths and effects in here, while FM insisted on playing on the dreamy side of Art Rock with the gears down and the atmosphere remains pretty calm all the way.

I could say that FM's approach on this effort was pretty genuine.But not passionate enough to keep the listener's full attention due to the lack of inner dynamics.Nice album for background listenings and propably for anyone into CLEARLIGHT-like Space Fusion...2.5 stars.

 In The Room Of A Singular Point  by WALRUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.49 | 3 ratings

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In The Room Of A Singular Point
Walrus Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars This group from Tokyo was around since 2000/01 with a four-piece line-up, Hideki Yamasaki on guitar/Mellotron, Goro Yamasaki on bass, Wataru Okabe on drums and Mitsuyuki Shiiba on vocals.They were undoubtfully influenced by GENESIS, that's what the rare photos from the period indicate, showing Shiiba dressed in costumes like Peter Gabriel.A first album appeared in 2004 under the title ''In the room of a singular point'', of course both the title and band's name were delivered in Japanese and these were only the translations into English.

A very short work, just about 30 minutes long, which shows the band using the more laid-back elements of GENESIS and the frenetic rhythms of KING CRIMSON as their guiding lines.You should expect Shiiba sound like a Japanese Peter Gabriel, but, as this was pretty much impossible, what you should expect is a singer, who adapts his voice to the music lines, passing through a poetic lyricism but also becoming really angry and attacking in the more powerful parts.The music, of course, follows the same lines.It contains these old GENESIS elements during the calm passages and dreamy guitar touches, featuring the occasional Mellotron injections, it also contains the dark and heavy side of KING CRIMSON with the familiar ROBERT FRIPP color on the guitar moves but also some sporadic YES underlines, again some Mellotron showering is present here, but it also displays a tendency towards modern Heavy Rock with a PORCUPINE TREE mood, led by the punchy riffing and the bombastic grooves.What this band could really do well was to slip between different moods, some parts are melancholic and theatrical with light symphonic overtones, others are dominant and dynamic with sinister atmospheres and some psychedelic nuances.But everything they went for, they did it quite well and the combination of Mellotron with the emphatic guitar plays are a bit close to compatriots BI KYO RAN.

Good Heavy/Symphonic Prog with a discreet theatrical twist.A combination of mellow and energetic tracks/variations in an interesting mix.Recommended.

 Mason + Fenn : Profiles by MASON, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.89 | 21 ratings

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Mason + Fenn : Profiles
Nick Mason Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I think that one of the best things of having the choices and opportunities to record solo albums or duet albums for some musicians from some very famous bands is that they can record music which is very different from the music which characterizes their bands, without having to carry the "heavy weight" that some names of bands have in the musical careers of some musicians. At least in this kind of albums they can do what they want to some extent, playing and recording some kind of music which they cannot play and record with their bands. I think that this album is one example of this.

With Roger Waters being in PINK FLOYD the main songwriter for three albums of the band ("Animals", "The Wall" and "The Final Cut"), and with all these albums being very successful, the other members of the band maybe felt a bit restrained and frustrated musically. The problem with Waters being the main songwriter in that band was that his vision of the world (which is valid and I agree with him in some parts) really saturated these albums of the band with that vision, and for many listeners like me it really was not very attractive to buy another album of the band with that same vision and content. So, for some years I really forgot those three albums and I listened to other bands.

I knew about this album because the song "Lie for a Lie" (sung by David Gilmour with Maggie Reilly on backing vocals) was played a lot in a FM radio station in my city since late 1985. I liked the song a lot. I never bought the album because I think that it was not very easy to be found in the record shops in my city, or maybe I was more concentrated to buy albums by other bands. Anyway. it was good for me to listen to a PINK FLOYD related song which did not have Waters`s vision and vocals on it. It was unitl recently that I had the opportunity to listen to this album as a whole.

Well. This album is very good, but not very Progressive in musical style. The music and production is really very influenced by the production trends of the eighties, with the use of very good digital keyboards and effects, programming, drum machines, electronic drums, the very typical eighties use of reberveration, and other things. But in this case the final product is very good in comparison to other albums from other Prog Rock musicians. The musical style is mostly instrumental Pop Rock with some New Age and Synth Pop influences but very well balanced to the point that none of these musical styles saturates the album`s sound. The music in fact is very "light" and "happy", sounding like both musicians were having a lot of fun while recording the album. It is a mostly instrumental album, with only having two songs with vocals and lyrics ("Lie for a Lie", which in my opinion is the best song in this album, and "Israel", both with lyrics written by Danny Peyronel, and with "Israel" being also sung by him). Nick Mason and Rick Fenn are the main musicians in this album but with some sax playing by Mel Collins in a few songs. So, Mason and Fenn worked very well as a team in this album, producing a very good duet album which musically and lyrically is very far from the music of PINK FLOYD with Roger Waters as the main composer. It is a very "eighties production sound" influenced album, but very good anyway.

 Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports by MASON, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.17 | 42 ratings

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Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports
Nick Mason Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I saw this album in the record shops when it was released in 1981. I never bought it. At that time, I was listening more to GENESIS, YES, and other bands than to PINK FLOYD. But finally I could listen to this album recently, not being disappointed by it, despite the fact that NICK MASON did not write any of the songs in this album. The songs were composed by CARLA BLEY, an artist from the U.S. whose style of music is more towards Jazz-Rock music (and maybe somewhat Avant- Garde) than Rock music or Progressive Rock, and very far from PINK FLOYD`s musical style in many ways. Maybe Mason was tired of PINK FLOYD and Roger Waters (at that time, in late 1979, they were reaching the final stages of the recording of "The Wall" album, and Mason went to New York to co-produce this album with Carla Bley, in October 1979). I have to say that the music in this album is somewhat complicated, with some influences from FRANK ZAPPA (even in the use of some humour in some songs like "Can`t Get My Motor to Start" and "Boo To You Too"). All the musicians played very well and the recording and mixing of this album is very good, and maybe it took to them some time to learn the songs in the right way to record them, so maybe they took a considerable time for rehearsals, but maybe I am wrong. Anyway, this is a good album, an album which maybe needs some repeating listenings to really like it. The lead vocals by ROBERT WYATT are very good and very well adapted to this kind of music, not sounding very far from his own style of music. The song which sounds more close to Rock music is "Hot River" which has some very good guitars played by Chris Spedding. But the main instruments in all the other songs are the wind instruments and the keyboards. Mason plays the drums very well, I can say that I can listen to this album a lot of times more than to "The Wall".
 Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood by CALE, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.71 | 3 ratings

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Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
John Cale Prog Related

Review by admireArt

4 stars Flawless John Cale music!

There are albums that certainly are born under a good sign. This "Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood ", 2012, is one of those privileged efforts. Creative non stop, from start to finish, it shows a very mature, yet simple, songwriting. Simple not simplistic.

No "tour de force" or "spectacular" soloings or shoutings, no, John Cale's own aquired style is far from that kind of horseplay or market-wise strategies. He has never been and has had the guts to stay practically "underground" or un-mainstream to put it simply.

John Cale's music is closer to Rock n Roll troubadours like Bob Dylan or Lou Reed or Ray Davies than Peter Hammill or Peter Gabriel, for starters. He is highly creative, imaginative and a great lyricist, but still faraway of the "super-famous" and quiet cliched Prog music's idiosincracies. That is a fact!

A highly inspired songwriting, full of bright compositions (as opposed to its "dark" Art-cover), song by song, with astounding arrangements, energetic performances, full of subtle surprises, and a quiet playful John Cale at his best!

****4.5 "I guess not a prog-fanatic's dream, but it is still "Gold" for me!" PA stars.

 Pilgrimage by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.57 | 173 ratings

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Pilgrimage
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 1971's 'Pilgrimage' picks up pretty much where it's impressive predecessor, 1970's eponymous debut, left off. This time round, however, the classic Ash line-up of Andy Powell(guitar, vocals), Martin Turner(bass, vocals), Ted Turner(guitar) and Steve Upton(drums) opt for a slightly mellowier vibe, dipping into their reserves of folk influences in order to embellish 'Pilgrimage' with it's own distinct sound and thus separate it from the rockier 'Wishbone Ash'. Indeed, it has been a feature of Wishbone Ash's lengthy career to bravely juxtapose styles from album-to-album, often to the very real disappointment of even some their own fans, yet what this truly illustrates is a group more concerned with seeking creatively satisfaction than commercial benefits, an honourable trait. In the end, they received both, with 'Pilgrimage' proving an important stepping stone on the road to international success. Of course, you can't really write a review of early Wishbone Ash material without mentioning 'Argus', the group's awesome magnus opus that overshadows everything else they did, in particular 'Pilgrimage' which it closely follows. 'Argus' would expand the group's sound into progressive rock territory, concentrating on the impressive dual guitar attack of Powell and Ted Turner, yet 'Pilgrimage' would ultimately hold back from this kind of grandstanding, instead featuring a deep, glowing, almost amber sound brushed with the rustic hues of acoustic strums, slow-burning melodies and topped off by two jokers in the pack in the jazzy opening number 'Vas Dis' and the slow-burning epic 'Valediction', which still ranks as an out-and-out Ash classic. Although 'Pilgrimage' doesn't quite hit the same satisfying mystic-rock mark as the two classic albums that immediately surround it, this is still top-notch Ash product and one of only four albums to feature the group's pioneering original line-up. STEFAN TURNER, TOULOUSE, 2014
 Wishbone Ash  by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.77 | 182 ratings

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Wishbone Ash
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Still recording, releasing and touring after almost half-a-decade in existence, the lengthy and colourful Wishbone Ash story began all the way back in 1970 with this assured self-titled debut. Forty-four years and twenty-nine studio albums have followed, yet the simple fact of the matter is that Wishbone Ash peaked early on, issuing a fine opening trio of albums before venturing into a long, slow and sometimes painful artistic-and-commercial decline. However, despite those ill-judged late-career forays into NWOBHM-era heavy metal and, er...techno(!?) on the late-nineties albums 'Trance Visionary' and 'Psychic Terrorism', Wishbone Ash have actually enjoyed a pretty successful career, cracking North America during the late-seventies, issuing at least one stone-cold classic in the form of 1972's 'Argus' and somehow sustaining an audience throughout their many fluctuations in both style and popularity. Like many groups who started out during the heady days of the late- sixties/early-seventies, Wishbone Ash's best bits defintely came early on, during a short-but-scintillating three-year period that began with this debut album, continued on with 1971's 'Pilgrimage', and peaked with the all-conquering 'Argus'. All three albums, plus 1974's folksy 'Wishbone Four', feature the 'classic' Ash line-up of Andy Powell(guitar, vocals), Martin Turner(bass, vocals), Ted Turner(guitar) and Steve Upton(drums), and it this period which truly defines the group. These peak years effectively ended when, following 'Wishbone Four', the group's original twin-guitar attack was broken up, and Laurie Wisefield, formerly of progressive rock outfit Home, replaced the departing Ted Turner. From here on in, the distinctive Wishbone Ash sound would undergo a gradual Americanisation, with albums such on as 'Locked In' and 'New England' showcasing a slick and formulaic hard rock style aimed squarely at the North Ameican charts. Issued by MCA during the run-up to Christmas, 1970's 'Wishbone Ash' proved a surprise debut success and instantly found the group an audience in their homeland. The dual guitar attack offered up by Powell(who, as of summer 2014, is still leading the group) and Ted Turner both thrills and enthralls on the album's closing pair of epics, with both the ten-minute 'Handy' and the mystical opus 'The Phoenix' displaying the group's clever mix of hard rock pyrotechnics, soaring harmonies and atmospheric acoustic undertones. Despite a so-so opening with the frenetic, blues-stained opener 'Blind Eye', this remains a fine album from a youthful and energetic group. Echoes of 'Argus' can be heard in the album's carefully-layered grooves, whilst Martin Turner's ambivalent lyrics mesh cleverly with the album's lofty themes. STEFAN TURNER, TOULOUSE, 2014

 Musta Hiekka by ABSOLUUTTINEN NOLLAPISTE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.08 | 5 ratings

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Musta Hiekka
Absoluuttinen Nollapiste Prog Related

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars The latest albums of this Finnish long-time cult group prove them to be still going strong, especially the two parts to the operatic "Pisara ja Lammas" concept work. Musta Hiekka preceeded that masterpiece and is also a fairly strong Abso album, with some progginess among rather mainstreamy / indie-type pop-rock. The instrumental opener 'Kivi kuivuu' (=The stone dries) is gorgeous and suitably dramatic in a Science Fiction spirit. In the angular 'Veistän kehdolle kantta' (= I'm making a lid for a cradle) the vocals are made with a vocoder. And when Tommi Liimatta's vocals are finally heard properly, they're slightly more masculine than in the early output when they often approached normal speech.

The 7-minute 'Valvoja-aika' is graced with a mighty guitar solo that leads to the general distortion of sound in a dramatic way. The next synth-based song resembles earlier pop-oriented material and may feel a bit boring to a prog-minded listener. (All in all, it can be said that AN's potential for international following is rather limited, and this is obviously reflected in the very small amount of PA reviews.) 'Teikäläisen taivas' a nice, powerful pop song full of clever rhymes; the poppiest output of CMX comes to my mind. The next track gives the emphasis on beautiful guitar textures.

The slight sense of mystery and Science Fiction of the beginning is to some degree present on e.g. 'Musta viisari', but the compositions get rather simple and vocal-oriented, turning the whole into a relatively typical AN album on the long run. I'm not yet so deeply into their output to say whether this is really among their best, but at least it contains some delightful freshness among the more-of-the-same feeling. Production is good all the way, and no doubt the lyrics offer a lot to think about, as always. Surely not a let-down album to a follower of this band. 3½ stars (rounded down due to the faint international prog appeal).

 Infinity by JOURNEY album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.64 | 70 ratings

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Infinity
Journey Prog Related

Review by thwok

3 stars How do you review an album that you really like, but isn't all that progressive? Infinity is a really fine rock record, and was hugely popular back when I was in junior high school. However, Journey had dropped just about all of their progressive tendencies by the time Infinity was released. My favorite tracks are probably "Feelin' That Way/Anytime" and "Wheel in the Sky".

The performances throughout the album are excellent, which should not be surprising considering the band members' backgrounds. Steve Perry can definitely sing, and Neal Schon shows once again what an excellent guitarist he is. I would rather listen to this than many of Styx's records or anything by Boston, to name two bands that are often compared to Journey. This album is certainly a whole lot better compositionally that what came after it!. Infinity's over-familiarity and lack of progressivenes decreases its rating for Prog Archives purposes. My final rating is going to be 3 stars - a really good rock record, but not a priority if progressiveness is really what you're looking for.

 Escape by JOURNEY album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.59 | 85 ratings

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Escape
Journey Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A few months ago I wrote a review of Journey's foul "Infinity" album from 1978 and I have no doubt that I insulted every one of their fans with my scathing assessment of it. It was vocalist Steve Perry's first LP with the band and I found it to be such a despicably blatant attempt at being commercial that I gave it .01 stars. It was as if Journey was massively codependent and desperately wanted everyone to like them. "Escape" came out in the summer of 1981 and by then Mr. Perry had fully acclimated himself into the group's Top 40 motif so the record is much more cohesive than those that had preceded it. Plus, they were one of the most popular acts in the biz so they knew exactly what their audience expected from them. The addition of Jonathan Cain on keyboards (replacing the burned-out Greg Rolie) gave them a bit of a creative boost, as well. All that being said, however, they were still about as progressive as George Strait. But I will concede that there are a couple of tracks on "Escape" that I can not only tolerate but actually enjoy so this critique won't be quite as disemboweling.

Wisely they open with what may go down in history as the most recognizable and memorable of their songs ever, "Don't Stop Believin'." While this is 100% pop rock from beginning to end it's still hard to say anything untoward about a tune as well-crafted and true to its intended purpose as this one is. I remember when I first heard it blaring from my car radio I was thinking how great it was to hear a number that featured a dominant bass guitar line up front in the mix for a change. The catchy chorus notwithstanding, I believe Russ Valory's contribution is the real key to the song's success and longevity. Like it or hate it, the tune is a gem of production and performance. "Stone in Love" is next and it's a reversion back to the brand of unsavory, faux "rawk" that I've come to identify this band with over the years. It has all the tired ingredients: vapid lyrics, calculated-to- dazzle-the-easily-dazzled dynamics and Neal Schon's wholly predictable guitarisms that appeal only to the lowest common denominator. "Who's Crying Now" follows and, despite it being a half-decent, inoffensive AOR tune overall, I find it impossible to be objective about it because it brings to mind my first wife. She went out and bought the LP with cash pilfered from our paltry music fund because she wanted to learn Neal's guitar solo on her rusty flute left over from high school. Since our marriage eventually ended badly even the mention of this particular ditty conjures up nauseating memories I'd rather not entertain. "Keep on Runnin'" is typical of the soulless drivel the dawning of the empty 80s decade brought to the rock & roll table, helping to foster a lot of the inane hair band crap that was so soon to flourish and drive decent prog fare off the music industry's map. "Still They Ride" is a slick, bluesy ballad that might've been acceptable to my ears had someone with grit like Rod Stewart sung it but everything slow-paced that Steve Perry warbles almost always comes off as a syrupy cocktail lounge number that only induces sleep.

The title track, "Escape," is an example of formula rock at its most pedestrian. At least the ensemble tries something a tad more adventurous during the middle instrumental segment but when it ends up being sandwiched between two thick slices of plain white bread as it does here it is relegated to the realm of the inconsequential. "Lay it Down" is next wherein their tried, true and trivial composing methodology is painfully exposed once again. Schon starts with his heavily stacked guitars playing a simple riff and then Steve Smith's boring drums jump in just before they embellish the track with Perry's high-pitched chirping and a big hook. I'm sure their devotees were happy as fish to hear it. "Dead or Alive" follows, a driving rocker coupled with what sounds like New Wave-ish vocal lines emanating from Steve. Compared to some of the other filler on the album it's not bad but that's not to endorse it as anything gratifying by a long shot. "Mother, Father" is one of the band's gallant attempts at manufacturing an epic anthem. Unfortunately there's just not enough substance lyrically or musically to hold this overblown piece together and it fails miserably to enthrall. They close out with "Open Arms." This staple of classic rock and adult contemporary radio stations is adorned with a beautiful melody that Perry delivers with class while the rest of the group manages to not clutter up the atmosphere unnecessarily. I've always admired a polished, unpretentious love ballad when I encounter one and this one deserves respect.

"Escape" was the first Journey album to rise to the very top of the charts and it further solidified their status as an arena-packing, multi-platinum act that made the shareholders of Columbia Records a lotta moolah (and still does). Yet by 1981 whatever progressive roots they once proudly sported had shriveled up and deteriorated completely so their presence on this site may surprise the prog neophyte who comes across them while scanning through the roster. Their prog-related tag is a stretch. If sales impress you and fill you with "Glee," then the fact that this album has sold over 12 million copies worldwide to date will be staggering to comprehend. But here in Progland the number of units shipped means next to nothing so I have to be honest and give it the rating I think it has earned. 1.8 stars.

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GODLEY & CREME United Kingdom
GOLDEN EARRING Netherlands
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