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Stick Men - Prog Noir CD (album) cover

PROG NOIR

Stick Men

 

Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 74 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is wonderful!

I still remember that a couple of years ago, Stick Men visited Mexico City for an intimate and wonderful show in which, Levin, Mastelotto and Reuter let us know once again they are truly gifted musicians who really enjoy what they do. Now, two years later, I am delighted with their newest album, the mighty Prog Noir recently released through Moonjune Records; a 10-track album with 50 minutes of great music that in my humble opinion, does not have weak moments.

I have to say that I've been a fan of these musicians for several years, they are incredible with their instruments, but I also have to say that I am not really keen on Levin's voice, however, on this album the vocals sounds pretty good, hence doing no harm to the music, which is simply great. The album starts with the title track "Prog Noir" which is a great introduction, powerful, dense, with cool vocals and that imminent Crimsonian style that has to appear in every Stick Men album, for obvious reasons. In fact, second track "Mantra" is very reminiscent of the Thrak era; the guys don't deny their past and use it to build up new interesting songs.

"Plutonium" demands your attention due to its tension and explosive moments. It has short renditions to Orff's Carmina Burana, to Yes' Roundabout and to Tchaikovsky's La Marseillaise; and a chorus made for everyone to sing and enjoy: "Pluto, Pluto, Pluto, Pluto- nium" haha, truly enjoyable. "The Tempest" is another great track! I would like to point out that this album is quite different from their previous ones, and actually I think this is so far my favorite. I like that for example, in this song, if I didn't previously know they were Stick Men, I would think of another band.

With "Schattenhaft" I kinda want to dance and move my body with its heavy but friendly sound. I love the strings here, so powerful and again with that Crimsonian style, and of course Pat's drumming is always accurate, always spot on, always telling us something. "A Rose in the Sand / Requiem" brings tranquillity and relaxation, its sound is much more oriented to the soft side of music, giving us some minutes in which we can take a deep breath and have even a moment of introspection. Nice!

But be prepared, because after that relaxing moment comes a magnificent storm entitled "Leonardo", one of my favourite songs of the album. Progressive rock, virtuosity and power are merged in this track reminding us just why we love Levin and Reuter's finger work. This is chaotic, dense, powerful, amazing! I bet this might be a favourite for so many people, you just have to listen to it once to become an addicted. "Trey's Continuum" naturally has to do with the amazing Trey Gunn, another member of the Crimson family. The music in moments borders on cinematic, in others groovy and then heavy, which is why I think it never ceases to surprise, so one cannot get bored of it, never.

The last two songs are "Embracing The Sun" and "Never The Same". The first one without a doubt will take you to the Discipline-era, an instrumental track with repetitive but always different notes that produces addiction within ten seconds. I love it! And the last one brings again vocals, creating a great synergy between instruments and voice (which is also an instrument, but different, you know), so I believe this track was wonderfully chosen to close an excellent album, the best, or at least my favorite Stick Men album so far. Highly recommendable!

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |

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