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Jordan Rudess - The Road Home CD (album) cover

THE ROAD HOME

Jordan Rudess

 

Crossover Prog

3.18 | 93 ratings

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AdamantVision
4 stars A great tribute to the progressive roots of today's bands! I picked up this album after getting into Dream Theater, after which I was interested to hear more of Jordan Rudess' solo material. I was immediately intrigued by the tracklist which included some of my Yes and Genesis favorites. It was immediately familiar but still nicely refreshing to hear a new take on classic songs as well as a tiny bit of new material.

The opening track, Dance on a Volcano, is from one of my all-time favorite progressive rock albums ever, Genesis' Trick of the Tail. This cover does the original much justice, while infusing it with a much edgier, aggressive sound. The ending section is quite wild with some new guitar parts thrown in which are very rockin'.

Sound Chaser is probably one of my most favorite Yes songs from my favorite Yes album, so I was excited to give this track a listen. Jordan fills Patrick Moraz's shoes quite well, keeping up the blistering tempo of the original and giving him a chance to do what he does best. The extension of the guitar solo in the middle was a mistake, in my eyes, however-no discredit to the guitarist, for sure, but an extra three minutes in length on a solo that was rather lengthy to begin with is just plain boring. I usually skip the solo while listening to just get to the end part, which is very intense and well played by Jordan.

Gentle Giant's Just the Same was one I had never before heard, though my opinion of it is very high. It's a very catchy, syncopated song that I think sounds great. I could only find a rather poorly recorded version of the original to compare but in this case I think I can say that this version, if in quality only, succeeds in bettering its original reference material.

The fourth track is a beautiful surprise and showcases the other side of Jordan's keyboard wizardry. In listening to this I hadn't any idea what was in store thematically and was just floored to hear the themes of some wonderful favorites so expertly played on solo piano. Every section of the song segues well into the next and the selected songs are all wonderful melodies. Jordan is obviously as big a Relayer fan as I am-it's a shame he didn't do Gates of Delirium instead of Sound Chaser or Tarkus!

Piece of the Pi is the weakest track on the album (and the only original one). I finally gave it an honest listen and while it's rather nifty and novel, full of synth effects and plenty of notes, it's just not a very interesting song. It's full of the usual Jordan Rudess lightning-fast arpeggios and ragtime piano solos which are just tiresome in such volume in such a short time. An impressive track technically but listening-wise I often skip it.

Tarkus, on the other hand, is an amazing cover of the ELP magnum opus. Keith Emerson's keyboard flair is a perfect match for Jordan's style, and he manages to quote enough of the original note-for-note and still give it his modern edge. Instrumentation-wise Jordan's version is a lot fuller and high-quality compared with its 1970s counterpart, and I feel like the modern synth infusion he gives the song really does a lot to boost the song's impact and energy.

Overall this is an excellent album full of tributes to the best of the best. 4/5 stars.

AdamantVision | 4/5 |

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