Funny but if you write enough posts you forget half the stuff you wrote. It turns out I did my first bit of prog post just about a year ago. Time for another one. It’s difficult to find prog-rock songs that aren’t 30 minutes long but I did my best to keep the count down. The longest tune here clocks in at 9:35. For Part Two I’m going to post one long-form tune from a band and let them rip.
First up, a band that a lot of people love but who I frankly haven’t paid much attention to, Tool. An interesting band as they have exactly five studio albums in 26 years. Their most recent album came out in 2019, some 13 years after the previous one. Apparently legal, personal and other bullshit issues prevented them from recording.
I’m late to the party but the title track from their 2001 album Lateralus is a chunk of good heavy metal-ish prog. Of it, Prog magazine says, “Only Tool could pen a labyrinthine skronkmetal exploration inspired by … the Fibonacci integer sequence.” A love song it’s not:
I think that “Discipline” from King Crimson’s 1981 album of the same name is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. Wikipedia: “The composition undergoes many time signature changes. There are two main guitars (one played by Robert Fripp the other by Adrian Belew) which are often in a different time signature, giving the song a chaotic and intense feel.
Many times the guitars play similar patterns, but one drops a note making them go either out of sync or change time signatures.” Meanwhile, Bill Bruford cranks along in yet another time signature. Can’t be done:
Have you ever heard of Joyce Carol Vincent? She “was a British woman whose death went unnoticed for more than two years as her corpse lay undiscovered in her north London bedsit. Prior to her death, Vincent had cut off nearly all contact with those who knew her. She resigned from her job in 2001 and moved into a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.”
This strange story has, for whatever reason, inspired a docudrama, a band name and and an album called Hand. Cannot. Erase by the ubiquitous Steven Wilson. I find this song, “Routine,” to be quite beautiful in a rock epic kind of way and almost like a Broadway tune. Guitar by whiz Guthrie Govan:
Fish was the lead singer of the band Marillion from their inception in the late ’70s till the late ’80s. It’s interesting but I only found out about them later. Either I wasn’t following prog or they weren’t getting much play here in the States. This song “Shadowplay” is from his second solo album Internal Exile. It changes mood and style abruptly about halfway through. (You can be forgiven for thinking this sounds like Peter Gabriel):
Hunched fetal in the corner of my soul
My fingernails are bleeding
From climbing up the wall
This time you really hurt me right down to the core
And I’m desperately trying to find a reason
To forgive you for it all
I’ve never really written about Rush much. I like some of their stuff, never been a huge fan. But recently before I made my fake rock star trip out to LA, I had occasion to play Steve Morse’s version of “La Villa Strangiato.” So let’s let the Canadian trio take this one out and we’ll consider it a tribute to Neil Peart: