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Chameleon - Rising CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.24 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Recordings made by Chameleon, an obscure Progressive Rock band from Texas, were finally released in 2013, up to 40 years after they were first recorded. The 13 tracks on "Rising" were recorded in various studios between 1973 and 1978, including six tracks from their own studio/rehearsal room in a converted barn.

The sound quality, production and musicianship is very good but the band suffer from a serious lack of originality. Listening to this album is like listing to a compilation of the more famous 1970's prog bands playing unreleased tracks that didn't make the grade for inclusion on their albums of the time.

The album opens with "Texas Cyclone" which is one of the better tracks. It starts off sounding like Begger's Opera with a bit of Chris Squire style bass thrown in. As it progresses the Yes influence becomes stronger with some Steve Howe style guitar and there is also a bit of Genesis influence in places.

Track 2 "Follow Your Love" is reminiscent of Kansas.

Track 3 "Pilot Thoughts" is heavier in style, a bit of a poor man's Rush, but interspersed with some long mellow sections. Nice guitar work through the long mellow passage towards the end of the track.

Track 4 "Brave New Way" is another Kansas style track. It's a very American sounding track.

Track 5 "Drool Away" is an out of place oddity, this is their attempt at a James Brown track!!!.

Track 6 "Pass Thru The Columbian Mountains" is strongly influenced by Gentle Giant.

Track 7 "Everyday Everyway" is their homage to Led Zeppelin. I quite like this one.

The intro to track 8 "Mirkwood Forest" sounds like Fruupp then followed by Rush style vocals. Part of the track sounds like Beggars Opera.

Track 9 "In the Heart" is the Steely Dan track.

Track 10 "Saturate" is a return of the Kansas influence.

Track 11 "Midnight Matinee" reminds me of something (surprise surprise) but I can't quite place it, although there is a bit of a Beggar's Opera influence in parts.

Track 12 "Life Positions" is another of the better pieces. This is influenced by Genesis with a bit of Camel and Chris Squire's bass thrown into the blender.

Track 13 "In My Own Way" is a pop song, nothing prog about this at all. It is the earliest track on the album recorded in 1973 before the band had decide to embrace progressive rock. It's the worst track and really should have been left off.

Overall it is an interesting listen, they are good musicians but unfortunately totally lacking in originality. There is nothing distinctive that you could say this is Chameleon. But in general the compositions are well formulated and well played. Standout tracks are the opening "Texas Cyclone" and "Life Positions" I will be generous and give it three stars.

FXM | 3/5 |


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