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HORROR, THE


THE HORROR 

"Here, In The Shadows" 

By Dark Starr

Oh, the Horror prog rock purists will feel as they run screaming from this one. Sorry, I couldn't resist that pun. The truth is, though, the kind of music these guys do will definitely turn those "traditional prog or nothing" guys away. This is inventive, dark music that is decidedly prog. It gets quite heavy and metallic, though. It's instrumental and very intriguing. There is a lot of space rock and even some fusion and classical in the mix here. If you have a spirit for adventure and don't mind really heavy sounds, give this a try. It's cool and unique. 

Rather creepy electronic atmosphere brings "The Forgotten Way" into being. Musical elements begin to rise up gradually as it works forward. Eventually that gives way to a guitar section that makes me think of early Hawkwind. As this marches onward it gets heavier, taking on some definite metal elements. It's sort of part space rock and part stoner metal in a lot of ways. It drops downward after running through that section and explores for a short time before powering back outward. It works though several variants as it drives forward. There are definitely metallic moments, but it's merged with psychedelia, space rock and more. 

"Your Best Bet is to Run" comes next and this jam really ups the "cool" factor. I love the bass work on it. There is some bluesy jazz in the mix here, along with plenty of jam band turned spacey rock sound. There are some cool keyboard things at play here, too. This has plenty of psychedelia, along with a few non-lyrical vocals at times. Again, this piece works through a number of shifts and changes. Like the best space rock it changes gradually rather than abruptly. It gets seriously jazzy near the end. 

A cool rocking guitar riff starts "Melee." As it works out from there it definitely feels like some killer stoner rock. It has some sections as it moves forward that again make me think of early Hawkwind quite a bit. This is a killer rocker. 

Starting more keyboard based, the bass guitar really drives "Passage" as it works forward. It has an early Pink Floyd meets stoner rock vibe to it. As it gets more developed it takes on more of a trippy modern electronic music sound. This piece makes its way through some killer instrumental territory. The guitar rises up to soar and drive this into more metallic zones further down the road, but overall this is among the most purely prog stuff here. The closing movement on this thing is so powerful that it really makes this one of the best pieces here. 

"The Slumbering Lurking" comes next. Coming in with rather creepy organ based sounds, there is a dramatic rocking element that emerges amidst that. In the meantime something that feels like a monstrous sort of being comes up into the mix. This drives forward as a proggy take on a dark, mysterious kind of metallic approach. This eventually works out into a killer hard rocking jam before the guitar screams up bringing an almost metal intensity to it. The rhythm section is insistent and driving, adding to the intensity. Around the five and a half minute mark a chugging metal jam takes it that makes me think of the best of early furious metal. Keyboards rise up over the top bringing both classical melody lines and the progressive rock home to roost. A slow moving metal jam takes it further down the road. If the whole disc were like that section, this would land under metal rather than prog. Creepy, weird keys take it at the end. 

A trippy kind of space rock meets weird prog and jam band sounds, "Oozy" is as intriguing as it is odd. It is definitely compelling.  In a lot of ways "Flying Asleep" is the most direct rocking piece here. Yet it still has plenty of prog rock things at play. This is energized and a lot of fun. It gets into some pretty noisy, metallic stuff further down the road, too.

Acoustic guitar brings "Valhalla" into being and moves it forward in pretty mellow modes. Classically tinged keyboard sounds take over from there, and the piece continues to evolve. It rises up with a rocking kind of element as it continues forward. This becomes a hard rocker with metal and prog stylings built into it. After working through like that, it drops down for a reprise of the opening section. It builds back out from there, but this time it has more of a fusion meets space rock feeling. After working through a lot of rocking territory in that vein, it drops way down to just keyboards to continue. Then it gradually rises upward as it keeps evolving. As it builds back outward there is a real old world Celtic vibe on hand. Then it shifts to some seriously hard rocking material after hanging there for a while. This gets incredibly intense and crazed as it works forward. This is a real epic piece, running over 14 minutes, and that space is used to pack in a lot of changes and variety. 

The closing piece is a suite of individual tracks that bear the title "LEVIATHAN" as a whole. The first movement is "fall," and weird keyboard textures begin it in a trippy kind of way. It has an almost symphonic, horror movie soundtrack kind of vibe to it. Piano eventually rises up amidst that arrangement to move it forward and reinforce that comparison. It starts to get more rocking sound as it continues. The pace increases as the volume level does and we're brought out into a harder rocking jam that's part prog and part metal. This gets really heavy and metallic as it drives forward. It definitely gets bombastic before it drops way down for a mellow and quite pretty keyboard section for the next movement. That eventually makes its way forward for the next movement, another rocking prog meets metal jam. Then, as it approaches the six and a half minute mark, it shifts to pure metal to continue. This is a thrashy kind of jam. 

Starting with atmospheric keyboard textures, piano rises upward from there as the second movement of the suite ("rise") takes over. As it approaches the one minute mark a guitar sound that makes me think of The Ventures comes into being. It all starts to coalesce around that as this moves forward. The piece builds outward with a lot of old school rock and roll and jam band sound in the mix. 

The closer (of the suite and the album) is "endure" and it comes in textural. It has a dark kind of vibe as it builds making me think of Nox Arcana (the music artist) quite a bit. Percussion and other elements bring more of a rock meets world music element to it. Then it shifts to some seriously metallic pounding sound. It's very heavy and bombastic. This becomes a real powerhouse jam with both thrash and prog elements at play. As it approaches the four minute mark there is a killer jam with some shredding guitar work over a driving rhythm section. This is screaming hot. It works toward more bombastic metal edged prog after a time. .