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Robert Berry (USA) - 1993 - "Pilgrimage to a Point"
(54 min, "Leonardo")


****

1. No One Else to Blame 6:13 (Berry, Steve Howe)
2. You've Changed 5:12 (Berry)
3. Shelter 6:57 (Berry, Carl Palmer)
4. Another Man 3:50 (Berry)
5. The Love We Share 5:34 (Berry, Howe)
6. Tomorrow 5:27 (Berry)
7. Freedom 4:31 (Berry)
8. The Otherside 5:37 (Berry)
9. Last Ride into the Sun 10:14 (Berry, Palmer, Keith Emerson)

Robert Berry - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Paul Keller - guitars
Mike Wible - keyboards
Preston Thrall - drums
Marcus Miller - bass

Prologue. The first solo album by the excellent guitarist/bassist/vocalist Robert Berry consists mostly of songs written (or co-written) by him for the most famous Progressive Rock bands he ever participated in. These are: 3 (The Three, aka Emerson, Berry & Palmer) and GTR (co-project with Steve Howe of Yes and other well-known musicians). Unfortunately, both planned second albums by The Three and GTR were never released, so by listening to the "Pilgrimage to a Point" album you will become familiar with many interesting unreleased materials, including new songs written by Robert himself.

The album. "Pilgrimage to a Point" is a 'definite child' of Classic Progressive Rock of the '80's. Both opening tracks No One Else to Blame and You've Changed are structurally quite similar to the new slightly hard-edged progressive sound 'constructed' by Yes for their most commercially successful album "90125". This was bright and colorful, technically masterful, but overall, quite an accessible Symphonic Progressive Rock. Both No One Else to Blame and You've Changed are really good openers in that case. With good playing and singing based on a few different musical themes, raised to the power of several excellent diverse guitar solos in the instrumental parts, these songs could've been real Prog-blockbusters sometime in the middle of the same 80's. But even now, I like them more than most contemporary Neo-'gems'. The following three songs running are the best tracks on this album. Shelter, written by Berry/Palmer, Another Man by Berry, and The Love We Share by Berry/Howe are the main progressive trumps that turned to be "got and hidden" somewhere closer to the middle of the album. Each of these songs contains a certain amount of truly progressive arrangements such as interplays between two lead guitars, acoustic guitar and keyboards, unexpected changes of themes and tempos, a very diverse singing - from melancholic to dramatic. Tommorrow and Freedom, written by Berry, sound somewhere in the vein of both opening tracks, but they aren't that straightforward. I noticed that some electric and acoustic guitar solos on Tomorrow sound specifically, more originally than I've heard before. Also I like the diverse work of the rhythm section on Freedom. The Otherside and Last Ride into the Sun are back to the more progressive structures we can hear on The Three, for example, though the first of these tracks contains fairly simple arrangements. Another, sounding more than 10 minutes, is an excellent progressive work, but it is just a pseudo epic song considering how much excellent arrangements could have a place during these long minutes.

Summary. About a half of the songs on "Pilgrimage to a Point" are stylistically much in the vein of those from "GTR" and "To the Power of The Three". Of course, it's clear, why. Besides, many thanks to Robert for including some unnoticed (or underrated) pieces into this album - a real mirror of the state of Progressive Rock in a 'dark decade' of the 80's. More recent songs written by Berry in the beginning of the 90's were well intermixed among the earlier songs to reach a really balanced overall sound.

VM; April 9, 2000


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