“The Big Game”

By Dark Starr

This is the kind of thing that's hard to categorize. While it's not purely progressive rock by any means, it does have some real prog in the mix. It has a lot of metal elements, too. Whatever you call it, this is a trio of musicians, the names of which give it the initials that serve as the name of the act. Those musicians are Derek Olivero (guitars and lead vocals), Bobby Gavin (drums and vocals) and Dave De Ranieri (bass and vocals). Jerry Marotta produced it and provides some keyboards and backing vocals. Daniel Weiss also provides keyboards on several tracks. Hugh Syme (who is probably best known for his great RUSH album covers) did the cover. There are some references to RUSH in the sound here to me, but if you want to come close to the idea of this, I'd probably point you to bands like THE GIRAFFES and KING’S X. 

"Young Love" starts the set, and an almost alternative rock introduction gives way to a jam that is hard-edged and proggy. The vocals come in over the top of that. The cut is high-energy and so classy. The guitar soloing on it is on fire.  The verses on "Sweet Life" are more stripped down. There is a real metallic texture to this thing. It's another powerhouse tune with definite alternative rock in the mix. 

Another rocking cut, "The Word" has more of that metal meets alternative vibe. This really rocks out with an almost prog metal vibe later. One of the most decidedly metallic cuts here, "Out in the West" still has a lot of alternative rock in it. It is a killer tune with some pointed lyrics. I'd  also consider it to be a highlight of the set.  Clean guitars hide the fact that there is a real metal edge to the main structure of "Innocence Ran." Keyboards bring hints of prog to it. The guitar solo is classy stuff. 

"Setting Sun" is more expansive and soaring. It definitely lands in the zone of prog rock in a lot of ways. I dig the guitar soloing on it a lot. I'm definitely reminded of RUSH on "Dreamland." There is an alternative edge to the vocals, though.  Now, "Scary Night" is a metal tune. It is mean and hard-edged. It's a real screamer. Yet, I can still make out some RUSHish hints. The lyrics seem to tell a horror story.  Of course, with that title, what would you expect?

Another scorcher, "Unknown" seems to have equal parts progressive rock, metal and alternative tock It's hard-rocking and fierce. With intricate guitar at its heart, the opening section to the closing "Outland" makes me think of the mellower side of METALLICA merged with prog. That prog angle is reinforced with some synthesizer. After it works through the extended introduction it drops way down for a more fully prog section. That gives way to the first vocal movement. After those first sections it powers up for the chorus. This piece is the most dynamic thing here. It's also the most purely proggy and the highlight of the disc. It has a great vocal arrangement and is a killer ride. I suppose "killer ride" might be a good description of the album, really. It is an intriguing and exciting release that works well.