Mike McLatchey    3-November-2001 Cairo - "Cairo"
(Magna Carta MA1081-2, 1995, CD)

Having heard the Frog Pest sampler tape, I was expecting quite a bit, as the long 20 minute cut (that appears here as well) was very promising. The track was a cross between complex, keyboard-fronted progressive rock in the ELP style and a more accessible Asia/Saga/Pendragon melodic rock style typical of the Magna Carta label. It had some excellent instrumental sections with great dynamics and technical virtuosity.

After hearing the full CD, I must admit I was disappointed, as the remaining tracks, although long and involved, fit neatly into the bombastic neo-progressive style. They certainly do it better than most, filling in the cracks with lots of synths and Hammond. After the introduction (also on Frog Pest), there are several songs with lots of accessible vocals - I hear Asia, Pendragon, Queensryche, Toto, Magellan, Dream Theater and others.

Although I can't admit to liking this type of music a whole lot, as the more commercial moves sound quite trite, this certainly is one of the more assured, accessible prog acts around. I'd like to hear more of the Hammond, as at times they approach the classic Italian 70's stuff. Recommended to fans of accessible modern prog and probably the occasional ELP fan.

(Originally published in Exposť #7, p. 38, Edited for Gnosis 8/3/01)

Links for further information