The ubiquitous, and quite busy, musician and composer Billy Sherwood returns with the second installment of The Prog Collective, Epilogue. If you recall from the first album, The Prog Collective is essentially a studio progressive rock super ensemble featuring a great many seasoned veterans of the genre. (A complete list of performers follows below.)
Of course, Sherwood wrote all the songs, including lyrics and music, and as producer did all the recording and mixing. On most every song he also performs backing vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums.
Epilogue, then, is essentially a collection of traditional melodic progressive rock songs, and strays little from that context. Actually, much of this material is rather tame stuff, sounding sometimes somewhere between melancholic and mundane. The other characteristic of the songs is that they nearly all sound the same. Whether it's in the synth, guitar, or vocal layer, by example, the musical thread changes little. All the songs run together. Excepting the last song, Epilogue sounds like one long song with eight parts. Perhaps this was intentional on Sherwood's part.
There's definitely individual highlights within like Steve Hillage's solo on Are We To Believe?, Steve Morse's guitar within Adding Fuel To The Fire, and Nik Turner's saxophone within In Our Time, though it's short and muted. The liveliest track, and rather different from the rest of the album is the closing Epilogue. But I don't get the big deal with Shatner; you can barely hear him speak.
While still classic progressive rock, fans of the first Prog Collective album may find this one not quite as inspiring. It's certainly no match for Sherwood's The Fusion Syndicate released last fall, a stunning album. Nevertheless, it you like traditional melodic prog rock performed by an all-star cast, you'll probably like this one.
Rick Wakeman, Steve Stevens, Chris Squire, Peter Banks, Steve Morse, Larry Fast, Alan Parsons, Sonja Kristina, Jordan Rudess, Steve Hillage, John Wesley, Nik Turner, Geoff Downes, Roye Albrighton, Gary Green, Tony Kaye, Colin Moulding, Mel Collins, John Wetton, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sherwood, Fee Waybill, Patrick Moraz, Jim Cuomo, and William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal, et al) with a spoken word performance on the final title track.
While still classic progressive rock, fans of the first Prog Collective album may find this one not quite as inspiring. It's certainly no match for Sherwood's The Fusion Syndicate released last fall, a stunning album.
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