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The Underground Railroad (USA / UK) - 2000 - "Through and Through"
(55 min, "The Laser's Edge")


1.  May-Fly 3:52 (Rongey / Pohl)
2.  The Comprachicos of the Mind 10:18 (Fowler / Pohl / Stevens / Rongey)
3.  In the Factory 5:35 (Pohl / Rongey - instrumental)
4.  The Doorman 10:05 (Pohl / Rongey)
5.  Mars 4:33 (Rongey)
6.  Through and Through 20:13 (Pohl / Rongey)

Lyrics by Rongey, except track-4 by Pohl & Rongey. Composed: January - December 1996. Produced and engineered by Rongey & Pohl: spring 1997 - summer 1999. Mastered: autumn 1999 - spring 2000.

Line-up: Kurt Rongey - keyboards & vocals; Bill Pohl - guitars & vocals; John Livingston - drums & percussion; Matt Hembree - bass & background vocals

Additional info: Rongey, Pohl and Livingston were former members of Bill Pohl Group, which existed in 1994-1995. Kurt Rongey-solo: "Book in Hand"-1991, "That was Propaganda" (together with B.Pohl)-1993 (released in 1999). Bill Pohl-solo: "Solid Earth"-1992.

...It was a long journey to create and release "Through and Through", and thanks to "The Laser's Edge" a unique creation of two masterminds is currently available for YOU...

As for me, before reading this material I'd recommend you to read the "Doppler 444" (Mongol-1997) review Here, because now, after a few listenings to "Through and Through", I feel the same wonderful passion for listening to this Absolute Masterpiece of Musical Art more and more. Yes, such a feeling is come to me just for the second time for the last three years; another Pearl of Progressive Rock is born, and so perhaps the most important genre of contemporary music is by far not only still alive - it is still carrying on to create something more significant than even simply a Classic for the Future. And the only difference between the debut album by The Underground Railroad and the (still) only album by Mongol is the stylistics of "Through and Through" within the Progressive Rock genre - this is a pure Classic Symphonic (Art) Rock without any (Jazz-Fusion or Prog-Metal) admixtures, though I can guess, some of my 'brothers in pen' won't be agree with me absolutely, trying to find there some elements of Fusion.

So, IMHO, "Through and Through" is, on the whole, nothing but a Classic Symphonic Rock masterpiece, each ingredient of which is quite comparable to the same one in the majority of the best works by the best bands which have ever existed in the history of the genre, universally recognized as Titans of Progressive Rock. First of all, The Underground Railroad debut album is a work of exceptional originality, and I personally consider the installation of some comparisons between heroes of this review and any other of the bands which have existed is, if not criminal in a direct meaning of this word, then simply inadmissible. Once again, I am talking not about some musical (OK, progressive) roots in general, I mean the direct comparisons, ie comparisons with some concrete names. I always see 'brothers in pen' are used to trying to make comparisons (OK, almost -) always yet very often they make them without cause. I assume the most part of them sincerely try to help our readers to orient themselves in such a way, but did they ever think the most part of our readers are quite experienced listeners themselves. What can they (our readers in general, though) think if they don't find some comparisons they've just read about after purchasing and listening to some concrete yet wrongly described work? After all, I am sure, many original musicians whose albums have been described with some wrong (naive, or inappropriate in general) comparisons were/are even offended with such a biased view on their creation (yeah, in spite of the fact that the majority of progressive reviewers are used to praising ANY album they receive for free), though, as I noticed, even the most distinctive wannabee-bands can't tolerate even an honest criticism. I see, the commercialization of our originally non-profit progressive rock movement already becomes a prosaic reality in spite of some endeavours to prevent such an abnormal situation. Then, maybe will, if not all (of course), but at least professional reviewers, stop thinking about comparisons as something essential to descript ANY musical work?

My apologies to heroes of these lines for the digression from their work... "Through and Through" with its complex (sometimes even very intricate in a good meaning), by far not an optimistic, on the whole, music and truly profound, but of the same overall mood lyrics, IMO, is reflecting quite a right view on our planet with its eternal problems of the excellent authors duo in the person of Bill Pohl and Kurt Rongey. These men are not only two brilliant composers and musicians (though, both men of the rhythm-section show a really incredible musicianship, too), they are very wise men, all in all. If Yes in their best years were, probably, the only band perfoming a kind of futuristic symphonic rock, The Underground Railroad - for the first time in my memory - could combine in their music tunes from the Past and from the Future. In the Symphonic Rock, created by Rongey and Pohl, I hear some motives of classical and neo-classical music, but also I hear structures that are new for me. Each composition on "Through and Through" contains such a unique combination within itself. There are absolutely no weak places on the album, though of course, its 20-minute titletrack is a nucleus of this work of genius, having a few really magical arrangements. To conclude my thoughts on the debut album by these new Titans of Progressive Rock - The Underground Railroad - I am just adding here that this is undoubtedly one of a few top albums of the decade 1991-2000.

VM. August 12, 2000


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