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Released: 2002, Lion Music
For a little variety this month I figured I would throw a progressive selection in among the rest of my CD reviews. Looking at my Cd pile I had some guitar instrumental releases that really didn’t float my boat at that moment. After a quick search of my review pile I came across this CD by the band Under Radio. The main man behind this project is Eric Zimmerman. Zimmerman is a Grammy-nominated mastering engineer who studied with Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci along with Rich Kern and Terry Syrek. After graduating from his studies in psychology at the SUNY Stony Brook’s Program he packed his bags and moved to California to start a band. He assembled this assortment of musicians to deliver the first Under Radio disc. Musicians appearing on this release include Zimmerman: guitar and bass, Robbie Wycoff: vocals, Chris Howard and Mark Zonder (Fates Warning): drums and Matt Bissonette and Mike Valerio: bass.
The material on this CD is varied and contains some pretty good progressive rock. Zimmerman doesn’t spend much time on long drawn out songs and for the most part keeps them pretty short. I don’t even know if I would call this progressive as mush as just plain good music. There really isn’t anything overly progressive about the music for the most part and in my estimation progressive is a tag thrown around way too much these days. “Spinning Wheels” and “Bigger Fish to Fry” are great riff oriented songs that demand repeated listenings. Showing their versatility the band reels off “Swing It” which is a swinging track in the vein of David Lee Roth’s cover of “Tobacco Road” from his EAT EM AND SMILE disc. The highlight of the CD is the moving track “Lifeline”. Wycoff delivers the vocals with such an emotional tinge that you can almost feel the pain behind his words. Zimmerman delivers a Zimmerman adds an amazing solo that serves to underscore the power of the song as a whole.
The cover art for this CD is very interesting indeed. It is a piece by Mike Reyes that is done in black and white and portrays and old lady walking towards an abandoned gas station. She is wearing combat boots and is carrying a shotgun. Thought provoking indeed. Its refreshing to see a band which labels themselves as progressive and who put the songs first. Zimmerman may be a gifted guitar player but for Under Radio he is striving for great songs and not a vehicle to show off his fret board talents.
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