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Clear Blue Sky - Don't Mention Rock 'n' Roll CD (album) cover


Clear Blue Sky


Heavy Prog

3.86 | 3 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Clear Blue Sky made an impact in the early 70s with their debut then released a couple more, in 1990 and 1996, and disappeared. 2013 sees a return for the band some 17 years later. This is odd for any band but as long as they want to produce great new rock, no one should have reason to complain. There are some excellent songs on this latest offering "Don't Mention Rock 'n' Roll", and some incredible lead work too by John Simms, also an accomplished lead vocalist.

Immediately a 70s guitar riff pummels on the title track and 'Boneshaker'. There are blistering lead guitar solos on 'Warlords' and 'Rising With Light' over an incessant 70s distorted riff. The catchy chorus's even have an old school sound like the heavy 70s scene of Budgie, Cream or Led Zeppelin. The riffs are thunderous, the guitars are dirty and the vocals are like Robert Plant. The riffs crank along with a ton of distortion and attitude, such as on 'Where Are You?', with its manic bassline and an insane lead guitar solo. Simms makes his axe scream with wild sustain and very fast hammering. This has a Black Sabbath feel and the theme is occultic but overall the atmosphere is darkened by the synths.

A blues feel is prominent in a lot of the songs, notably the full blown 12 bar blues of 'Dare to Dream' reminding me of Budgie, Blue Oyster Cult, Spirit or Masters Apprentices. The organ grinding is a nice touch but one can never ignore the fret melting lead guitar outbursts. 'The Wheel of Time Comes Around' is more relaxed in the intro but soon launches into heavy riffing and a pulsating bassline over steady percussion. The instrumental break has nice Rush like harmonics reverberating, and sinuous bass with punctuating drums. The lead guitar is phased and hammers out improvised licks with some electrifying speed picking and upsweeps.

'Song of the Universe' closes the album with some preternatural effects eliciting deep space atmospheres. The vocals are more psychedelic too along with the trippy lyrics; "gazing at the sky, infinity, something incredible, mystery, time and space, once so fragile but now so strong, going home where I belong." The lead guitar is spacier and this one really is out of the box compared to the heavy prog offered previously. Overall the album is a nice heavy dose of 70s style rock with prog influences. The lead breaks are killer and worth hearing and of course it is always nice to see a classic 70s rock band returning to the scene.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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