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Album Review

In the '70s, progressive rockers had a vision for rock that was, in some respects, comparable to the vision that Gunther Schuller and Gil Evans had for jazz. Prog rockers like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Genesis envisioned rock as more than just blues-based boogie — they approached it as "high art" and believed that rockers could learn a thing or two from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, or Chopin, which is similar to how Schuller and Evans approached jazz. Although prog rock peaked in the '70s, there are some 21st century bands with a prog rock outlook, and one of them is Vertical Leap, whose album Sanctuary was recorded in 2001 but often sounds like it could have been recorded 30 years earlier. This CD is a throwback to the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Yes, and early Genesis; the songs tend to have a lot of twists and turns, which is why listeners may need to listen to the disc several times before they can fully absorb it. Some of Vertical Leap's material is instrumental, while some of it features producer/guitarist/composer George W. Mahn III on lead vocals. And when Mahn does sing, his lyrics are very spiritual and contemplative. Mahn speaks of things like wanting to find "sanctuary in God's arms" and having a desire to "purge these demons from my soul," but he isn't preachy about it, he doesn't sound like he's trying to cram a religious agenda down anyone's throat, but is, instead, contemplating and analyzing his own place in the world. A generally decent, if derivative, outing, Sanctuary will appeal to those who still hold Pink Floyd, Genesis, and the Moody Blues in high regard.

Sanctuary, Vertical Leap
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  • ¥1,500
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Oct 22, 2002

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