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Various artists:Moonchild 98 (CD, 72:49): Moonchild Records A bevy of international progrock here. All were new to me 'cept for Jeremy and bassist Jerry Peek, (Steve Morse Band and Raleigh, NC's 3PM band). Here's a track to track report. T1-Fig Leaf does early Yes/2112 Rush sound, rockin' then eerie but mellow Vangelis keys, strong vocals like Floyd. T2-Crucible draws you in with storyline music in a Sugarloaf jams with Queensryche and Boston whilst Yes/Genesis is reached for. Very 70's. Vocals pleasant. T3-DELUC offers very, in-sync drumlines/bass/keys/ and guitar riffs. String synth converses with Satrianic-voiced guitar but in the Dream Theater "umph". No distracting vocals. Cool riffs abound, belted out in a melodious package rather than shotgun-burst, flash-noodling. T4-Pruett and Davis Group stretch the nylons of their acoustic guitars deftly, harmonics chiming, cool America kind shuffles with Al Di Meola outbursts and Larry Coryell lightning-fast runs. Jerry Peek does pure 70's Stanley Clarke bass solo work and nails it! Somebody slap me. T5-Smokin' Granny gets you funkified and hip-jazzed. Lost Tribe meets Steve Coleman and the Five Elements man, like kick back bro' n' get loose. Groove me y'all. Itza boss phat thang. T6-New Sun gets my "most-like-Happy-the-Man" award and yet goes further. This is the upper crust folks. It's pull-you-in, entrancing, eerie, slick prog, with suspense. PFM/HTM/Ozzy!? vocals are effective. Ultra-cool psycherock/progmetal on par with Floyd's darker moments. Art rock at its Salvador Dali best. Whew, I must wind this up soon. Tracks 7-11 are each full of the same level quality as described above. Discover for yourself; Indeed: (sequenced electonica et al), Jeremy: (highly recommended heavy Hackett progger), Blue Shift: (Supertramp vocals, Echolyn complexity, guitarhead finale), Magus: (brain- in-a-hammock delights in serene guitars and dream synths, habit-forming) and Truth in Advertisement: (sonic sauna in Bill Nelson-land, Earthmother female vocals lure you into mystery rite dances). I give this sampler a strong "9" on a scale of "1-10". Recommended smorgasbord. -- John W. Patterson
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