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Unified Past - 'Spots' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/78/fc/89/unified-past-spots-57-1392316378.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 13, 2014    
 
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Unified Past is a name that prog fans old and new would be well advised to check out.

Album number six from this North American prog trio who, somewhat promisingly, are described in the press release as being 'progressive rock's present and future' and 'the best kept progressive rock secret in the United States'. Each of the three members has a varied musical background; guitarist and vocalist Stephen Speelman boasts a masters degree in classical performance, drummer Victor Tassone has recently worked on The Colin Tench Project, Andy Bradford's Oceans 5, and John Orr Franklyn's Reaching Ground Project and the line-up is completed by bass player Dave Mickelson who is also the bassist for Joey Belladonna's band as well as Chief Big Way. The end result is one of melodic and at times cinematic prog that certainly breaks some new ground but will at the same time remind the listener of Rush, King Crimson and some of the neo-prog movement that was prominent on this side of the Atlantic throughout the first half of the 1980s as well as latter day prog-metal exponents.

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'Spots' offers up 11 songs, six of which are entirely instrumental and all of which have a one word title, aside from the appropriately titled closing piece 'The Final'. The instrumental pieces are perhaps the most compelling, some dazzling guitar work from Speelman will no doubt have those with a keen ear for such virtuosity drooling. The keyboards take a more supporting role for the most part with the three rocking out like a good old fashioned thundering power trio, something which is best exemplified on 'Hot' and 'Tough', both of which combines deep rumbling bass with powerful drumming and Speelman's grinding riffs. The songs with vocals use distorted effects aside from 'The Final' where Speelman is revealed as a vocalist not that dissimilar to Geddy Lee in his prime.

All in all there is some very innovative material here and Unified Past is a name that prog fans old and new would be well advised to check out.

Dean Pedley

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