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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga CD (album) cover

ROMANTIC WARRIORS: A PROGRESSIVE MUSIC SAGA

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

3.90 | 16 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the heyday of the genre in the 70's, progressive rock has from the latter part of the decade and onwards been something of an underground phenomenon, mythical to the point of being mystical and for the most part being ignored by the music industry at large.

But from the 1990's, especially after the internet started to become a natural part of most households in the western world, the genre has slowly and steadily grown in popularity. Still underground and very much a cult phenomenon, but the rise in interest has been steady and noticeable nontheless.

With "Romantic Warriors" US company Zeitgeist Media seeks to document this phenomenon, at least to some extent. The movie opens with a brief overview of the genre development in various parts of the world, but then opts to focus their attention on certain events in their own backyard. Wisely enough, as I suspect a great part of their target audience will be people living there and it will be the easiest market segment for them to reach.

What we're served here is a brief glimpse into the contemporary world of progressive rock, as experienced by promoters, arrangers and musicians active or performing in North-Eastern USA. Orion Studios gets most of the attention, as their efforts for the genre to some extent instigated what is referred to as the festival scene in that part of the USA. Legendary mail order company and record label Cuneiform Records are given the opportunity to present themselves as well, and among the handful or so of major websites supporting the genre Progressive Ears has been chosen as the place to spotlight on this occasion, albeit briefly.

Still the main focus is on Orion Studios, and following a brief visit to ROSfest the movie concentrates on Progday and Nearfest. But rather than documenting those festivals and the scene as such, volunteers and artists are given ample opportunities to reflect upon progressive rock as a genre, to present a bit of their own history and to reflect upon the status of the present day scene. The aim of this film seems to be to present those glimpses as a kind of a status report on the scene today, with most screen time given to local newcomers Deluge Grander and the more renowned and established act Cheer-Accident, filled in by comments other artists from the US and the rest of the world.

There's no real message presented in this documentary, and the film-makers doesn't seem to want to present us to any conclusions either. No questions are asked as to why the genre is an underground phenomenon, and there are no hidden messages or agendas that are taken up either. This is a purebred documentary, where the producers have given people involved in the scene the possibility to talk rather freely.

And therein lies the main weakness and strength of this movie. Those who enjoy critical documentaries seeking to find answers as to why the world - or at least a part of it - works as it does won't find much here to fulfil their needs in that department.

But those who enjoy a documentary where the main aim is to document, who enjoy looking at snapshots from a part of the world reflecting what it's like there and then, those people are in luck with this creation. Enjoying progressive rock in it's various guises is most certainly an advantage, but I'd think that quite a few people without an interest in this scene as such might also want to see this film.

The producers might also want to peddle this one to television stations interested in and known for buying documentary flicks. I'd guess that many European networks, and in particular those who are still partially or wholly owned by the government, might be a target audience there.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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