Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gregorian Rock "Fire"

Another seven days around the sun....thanks for finding your way back fellow progheads!  2017 has proven thus far to be a year of doing things differently, and the Closet Concert Arena continues to travel the uncrowded path, this week catching up with a band I have been following since their inception, although "band" might be a stretch...

Gregorian Rock, for those blessed with quick mind and good memory, has two albums on a growing resume.  Dale Benedict--the driving force and brains behind the curtain and under the robe--has found a unique way to release album number three--one song at a time...



Gregorian Rock is nothing if not distinctive, combining "...ancient with modern to create a serene yet pummeling sound."  This is a band that has few peers in the prog garden; perhaps not a "one-of-a-kind," but absolutely not a follower in a long line of carbon copy, stamped-out, melodious, predictable bands.  Gregorian Rock looks at prog rock--and music in general--through an entirely different lens...listening through an alternate set of headphones...

Let us stroll together the labyrinth of sound that is Gregorian Rock as Dale nurtures, grows, and offers up his latest release "Fire" one song per month to the faithful (and patient) in the prog garden. Opening  with "Consuming Fire," the album broadens the landscape that Gregorian Rock occupies...the keyboards and guitars are extremely tight, lying under a vocal chant that comes through the headphones with subdued force. The drums lift the entire ensemble higher, held in place on solid footing while allowing everything to cascade down like a soothing waterfall.  Yes, Gregorian Rock has indeed taken it to another level...

The second song released has a church revival vibe, "Reap What You Sow."  Once again the vocals come at you like surround sound theater, and that upbeat tempo--highlighted by a thunderous horn section--throws brighter colors at the canvas. The keyboards draw more attention on this cut as well as they meld with the percussion beautifully.  There are top notes of Beardfish and Transatlantic filling the air as you feel a crescendo building that is delivered with tempered exuberance.

Liner Notes...Gregorian Rock has pretty much been a one-man show, with Dale Benedict responsible for the grooves carved into vinyl and lasered into disc.  However; the third time around the turntable has enabled Dale to assemble an impressive line-up.  In addition to Mr. Benedict playing chapman stick, keyboards, and laying down the vocals, the ensemble includes Phil Keaggy on guitars, Scott McCullor on vocals, John Adams on bass, and Sean McCurley on drums.

Gregorian Rock originated in San Antonio, Texas and has been building quiet momentum since its inception.  Dale has managed to bring a sound to the prog garden that unifies several sections while at the same time standing alone.  With an energy level equivalent to that of a teenager on Red Bull, Dale has relentlessly pushed Gregorian Rock to new heights and wider realms, stretching the boundaries of the prog garden.  His efforts have brought forth a bountiful harvest from the garden; introspective, soul searching, cerebral, and tremendously gratifying progressive rock.  Gregorian Rock is like a loofah for the mind...soothing your soul as it clears your head of so much peripheral debris.

My final installment this week is the third single from the new album called "Skies Proclaim."  The bassline draws you in right away...you can feel the tug on your collar as your head is lifted and tilts right.  The canvas explodes with color and enthusiasm as guitars and keyboards reign down, washing over you like ocean waves with a pent up fury...Vinnie Moreno's guitar solo finale pulls you under, and the exhilaration does not end when the stylus hits the blank space...

Learn more about Gregorian Rock on the band's Facebook page Gregorian Rock FB and Twitter @cantusnovus .  You can also check in with the band and purchase music on their website Gregorian Rock.  For those so inclined, the music can also be found at Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.  Links are available on the main website.


This is where I normally post a cut for your listening pleasure...a song to entice, whet the music appetite, and hopefully convince you to expand your prog music collection.  However; this week I take a different tack...no video, just a request to support Gregorian Rock and all the musicians and bands that call the prog garden home.  With Dale releasing the "Fire" album one  song at a time, I felt it would be best for you to listen and purchase via the links listed above.  I personally thank all my loyal followers for supporting all the prog artists reviewed here.  It is your loyalty and appreciation for the genre that allows these artists to do what they do.

OK...off the soapbox and back to the Concert Closet.  The search for all things prog took the proverbial fork in the road this week...Gregorian Rock was an oasis of sorts, just off the beaten path in the prog garden.  Dale has truly tapped into something as stimulating as it is appealing...intelligent without being arrogant.  For me, Gregorian Rock followed the path on which I discovered Brian Eno...an entirely different view of the genre via a spectrum that was there just waiting for the right eye to peer into the kaleidoscope...

And once again the clock has wound down on another week in the search for all things prog.  One of the (many) enjoyable aspects of writing this blog is watching bands grow and attract a wider audience. With the release of "Fire," Gregorian Rock has reached for the next rung on the ladder, and recruiting Phil Keaggy to play guitar certainly shows a bit of brass.

So the search for all things prog continues on...the Concert Closet continuing a journey that is much more fun than I deserve...until next time...

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