THE PROG COLLECTIVE – Epilogue (2013)
There’s no stopping to YES associate Billy Sherwood, who’s been engaging in a string of all-stars projects over the last years. And now, having just fulfilled bass duties on the Alan Parsons Project live dates, he’s busy tying loose ends on a couple albums and completed work on “Epilogue”, the second THE PROG COLLECTIVE effort.
As on the very good first release featured here last year, “Epilogue” is plenty of legendary collaborations.
Elsewhere we can hear King Crimson’s John Wetton and Mel Collins, Deep Purple’s Steve Morse, Nektar’s Roye Albrighton, XTC’s Colin Moulding, Hawkwind’s Nik Turner and Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess and Derek Sherinian, as well as Steve Hillage, Larry Fast, Steve Stevens, Sonja Kristina, Tony Kaye and a lot more.
Also, and this is a milestone in his long career as he rarely has appeared on other people’s albums, Alan Parsons sings lead vocals on “Shining Diamonds”, which also features Steve Stevens unleashing a mind-blowing guitar work. This is some kind of dream come true for me, as I never though that two of my favorite musicians ever will play together some day. Needless to say, this track is awesome and worth the CD alone.
In fact, it was Prog Collective sessions – Sherwood says, that brought him into the Parsons tour. After Parsons added vocals to “Shining Diamonds” he asked if Sherwood could play bass on a trio of Project shows this summer.
Another good example of how this all-star crew mixes and matches so well can be heard on the melodic “Are We To Believe” where Moulding sings a really smooth lead, Rick Wakeman delivers a great Moog solo, Hillage handles rich guitars and Collins shines on a superb sax solo. The do-anything Sherwood again produced, while also providing bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and backing vocals as needed throughout.
For fans of Sherwood’s work with Yes in the 1990s, the Prog Collective also includes Chris Squire on bass; Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes and Patrick Moraz on keyboards and, perhaps most interestingly, some of the final recordings from founding member Peter Banks as well. The late guitarist is featured, along with Kristina and Fast, on the atmospheric mid-tempo “Tomorrow Becomes Today”.
I enjoyed the first Prog Collective a lot, but “Epilogue” is even superior.
For starters, the music of this project is not strictly Prog Rock: this is a mixture of stylized progressive elements but with an extremely melodic delivery with several moments of elegant rock&pop melodies. Call it ‘light prog’ if you want.
“Epilogue” covers a wide range of listeners; from ’80s / 90s progsters to Classic Rock and Melodic Rock, even AOR audiophiles. In my opinion, this new album features stronger compositions, and of course musicianship is top notch, alongside the crisp production by Sherwood and the mastering of Maor Appelbaum, who did the original Prog Collective album and has also worked with Rob Halford, Yngwie Malmsteen and Geoff Tate’s Queensryche, among others.
01 – Are We To Believe?
Colin Moulding (vocal), Mel Collins (sax, flute), Steve Hillage (guitars), Rick Wakeman (moog solos), Billy Sherwood (drums, bass, vocal)
02 – What Can Be Done?
John Wetton (vocal), Derek Sherinian (synth solos), John Wesley (guitar), Billy Sherwood (drums, bass, additional guitars, synths)
03 – Adding Fuel To The Fire
Fee Waybill (lead vocals), Jordan Rudess (keys solo), Steve Morse (lead guitar), Billy Sherwood (drums, bass, synths, additional guitars)
04 – Tomorrow Becomes Today
Peter Banks (lead guitar), Larry Fast (keys solos), Sonja Kristina (vocal), Billy Sherwood (drums, bass, synths, additional guitars)
05 – Shining Diamonds
Chris Squire (bass), Patrick Moraz (keys), Sherwood (drums), Alan Parsons (lead vocals), Steve Stevens (guitars, Hammond)
06 – In Our Time
Geoff Downes (keys solo), Nik Turner (sax, flute)
07 – Memory Tracks
Roye Albrighton (Nektar; lead vocals), Allan Holdsworth (ex-UK; guitar solos)
08 – Just Another Day
Gary Green (electric & acoustic guitars), Tony Kaye (Hammond, keys), Sherwood (drums, bass, vocals)
09 – Epilogue
William Shatner (spoken word), Jim Cuomo (drums)
BUY IT !