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Chameleon - Rising CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.24 | 23 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars A Houston rock band who switched to a progressive style after hearing King Crimson, E.L.P, classic-era Genesis and Yes in the early 70's, Chameleon went on to record a series of pieces over the period of 1975 - 1981 before disbanding, and those tracks have been compiled on this winning compilation by Shroom Angel Records. Thankfully the album has a mostly consistent flow, making it feel like a proper studio album as opposed to a randomly assembled collection of scattered tracks, so listeners can approach this album like a true long-lost prog album from the vintage area!

`Texas Cyclone' opens the disc in blistering Yes-style, a track that leaps around with punchy galloping bass, ethereal guitar strains, a battery of synths and grand piano rises that come together in a way that would make Starcastle green with envy! The mannered vocals here almost sound a little like Martin Griffiths from Beggars Opera. `Follow Your Love' is a charging relentless rocker (the vocals almost channeling Peter Gabriel is a few spots this time), and despite some more frantic outbursts, `Pilot Thoughts' offers dreamy mellow slide-like guitar, gently spiraling synths and soft acoustic guitar. The verses of `Brave New World' are jangly and poppy with bouncing bass work, the chorus full of heavy guitar grunt, and there's a frantic mini-moog solo in the finale. `Drool Away' is a dirty slow-burn R&B bluesy rocker with a subtle funkiness and a scorching lead vocal, `Pass Thru The Columbian Mountains' an infectious quirky instrumental with twisting time-changes around gorgeous snaking bass, electric-guitar fire, blitzkrieg synth-soloing and fiery drumming.

`Everyday Everyway' is a fairly uninteresting grunting heavy rocker, saved by a strangled instrumental second half, but it really breaks up the flow of the album - program this one out, CD listeners! Despite some more obtrusive screeching hard-rock vocals in the chorus, most of mid- tempo rocker `Mirkwood Forest' is made up of chilled and dashing instrumental runs. Ditto for `In The Heart, a lightly jazzy instrumental stroll. `Saturate' is a muscular groovy fusion workout, `Midnight Matinee' an upbeat and sprightly pop/rocker with ambitious group harmonies and a spacy Eloy-like middle. `Life Positions' is another ambitious Yes-like epic rocker that carefully unfolds with a floating space rock ambient passages, dramatic heavy fanfares and dreamy group vocals that's almost as good as anything that bigger band did! `In My Own Way' closes the album on a simple, heartfelt ballad, and it's really rather sweet.

If these recordings had been released back in the Seventies, I have no doubt Chameleon would still be being spoken of in positive ways, perhaps as a talented band that had plenty of their own ideas, as well as the technical skills to pull off similar sounds of the above mentioned bands. The recordings offered on `Rising' are thankfully not mere leftover discarded scraps compiled together to take advantage of the wallets of vintage prog fans hungry for some undiscovered treasures, they really are worthy of being cherished and enjoyed! Chameleon were a reliable, humble and technically able band playing lovely progressive rock.

Three and a half stars for a great little band, and I really dig the album artwork too!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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