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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - A Progstravaganza Special: The New Generation of Prog CD (album) cover

A PROGSTRAVAGANZA SPECIAL: THE NEW GENERATION OF PROG

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

3.95 | 2 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Yesterday read a post about an alum called "A Progstravaganza: The New Generation of Prog", due to the ambitious name, I downloaded it from the official Prog-Sphere site, and the first thing I found is that it should be called "The New Generation of Prog Metal, because except for HAKEN (Heavy Prog) and THEORY OF ELEMENTS, all bands are listed in Prog Archives in one of the Metal genres.

As everybody knows, I'm not a fan of Prog Metal and very rarely review releases of this genre, but after listening the album at least 10 times I still like most of what I hear, so without more introduction, will take the risk and review all the tracks.

The album starts with "The Point of No Return" by the UK Heavy Prog band HAKEN. What I found is really interesting, the music is absolutely versatile and except for some growls and a couple of passages in which they play some kind of circus music, the whole track is very good. The members of HAKEN manage to create pompous and elaborated keyboard based sections but combine them with melodic and softer portions of the song (well, more like Power Ballad) and extremely interesting orchestral arrangements. Eleven minutes of good Prog Metal that morphs into Symphonic and Hard Rock, very strong start for the album.

The German Prog Metal band RELOCATOR, enhanced my surprise with the excellent "Aasvishkar" and it's incredibly beautiful acoustic guitar intro. Even when it's obvious that we are before a Metallic track and we must expect fast and distorted guitars, the guys from RELOCATOR give priority to a strong melody with oriental ethnic elements than to senseless shredding. But if this wasn't enough, I found some Jazz hints that make the blend richer. The sampler album continues by a good path.

The third track "Sunset in the Snowdome" also comes from a German Prog Metal band called EFFLORESCE, and the surprise is bigger, after a strong opening, a soft and melodic flute calms the moods in order to prepare us for the harder sections. Even when I feel some DREAM THEATER influences, their sound is much more coherent with nice female vocals by Nicky. Good melodies and strong sections that blend perfectly.

If I have to be honest, I would never buy a Tech/Extreme Prog Metal album, but the track "Waves of Thought" by the Dutch band EXIVIOUS is a pleasant experience, yes the guitar shredding is a bit loud for me, but the atmospheric and dark mood is quite interesting and pleasant, even for a Symphonic fan as me.

The German band THEORY OF ELEMENTS plays a six minutes track called "In the End" and for the first time in the alum we are bore a song that despite the heavy moments, doesn't fit in Heavy Prog or Prog Metal, more like a combination of genres that goes from Symphonic to Hard Rock, with a of wonderful piano and a jazzy bass. If they are added, I believe could go to Eclectic Prog.

Due to the relations between the two bands, the female fronted band TO-MERA reminds me of HAKEN (Why is one in Heavy Prog and the other in Metal?) but without growls and a hint of Jazz enhanced by the clear voice of "Julie Kiss. The track "Earthbound" is a good sample of a band that combines genres, styles and moods with great skills.

The album ends with the amazing 17:30 minutes epic "Veil of Illumination" by the Swedish Prog Metal band ANDROMEDA. This is probably the most metallic track in the album, with dominating guitar but they also add atmospheres and vibrant vocals, the perfect ending for a very good album.

If this is the new generation of Prog Metal, with more respect for the melody and avoiding the egomaniac excesses of bands like DREAM THEATER, I can get more interested in the genre, but the problem is that I don't know if the label has chosen the softer tracks of each band or in the selection of songs is representative of a new tendency...Only time will tell.

So, even when I don't usually give high ratings to compilations of different bands (much less if the main genre is Prog Metal), this time I will go with 4 solid stars, because I liked every track I heard...I can only hope that the rest of their material is similar.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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