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Chameleon: Rising

It seems like it's been forever since we've heard some stunning vintage Texas prog from the vaults of ShroomAngel Records, but lo and behold here they are with this little nugget titled Rising from the band who called themselves Chameleon. The band played and recorded in the Houston area throughout the '70s, and Rising collects those recordings on CD for the first time. Comprised of Spencer Clark (guitars, vocals), Mike Huey (drums), Craig Gysler (keys, vocals), and Rick Huey (bass), with Marty Naul (Oz Knozz) on drums joining in 1978, Chameleon successfully integrated all the influences of the more well known prog acts of that time period, namely Yes, Gentle Giant, Starcastle, and King Crimson, and the results here are pretty spectacular.

When you hear stuff like this, it makes you wonder just how this material stayed hidden in the vaults for so long. Lovers of vintage '70s progressive rock will just marvel at the quality of these long lost recordings. "Texas Cyclone" busts out of the gate with muscular bass lines, complex guitar passages, wonderful keyboards, and quirky vocals. "Paradise Lost" is another intricate prog rocker, while "Pilot Thoughts" offers up some hard rock guitar riffs but otherwise could have been a long lost demo from Genesis' late '70s catalog. I love the quirky "Brave New Way", which has a Beatles-meets-Gentle Giant-meets-Yes feel to it, with vibrant vocal melodies and some crisp guitar & Hammond organ riffs, while "Drool Away" combines pastoral Genesis influences with some Deep Purple styled heavy rock. Chameleon dive right back into complex prog with the intriguing "Pass Through the Columbian Mountains" as weaving guitar & keyboard lines play off each other with intricate drum & bass rhythms blasting away underneath. This is a great instrumental and one of the must hear tracks on the album.

"Everyday Everyway" is a scorching heavy rocker with some killer guitar work and layers of catchy vocals, while "Mirkwood Forest" is a no brainer for fans of classic Yes & Genesis, complete with Peter Gabriel styled vocals, sumptuous keyboards, and complex guitar passages. "In the Heart" is another exceptional instrumental, this one more atmospheric with some alluring keyboard textures and tons of tasty lead guitar solos. On "Saturate", vintage prog meets hard rock, with some sizzling synth solos from Gysler and nasty guitar riffs courtesy of Clark. "Midnight Matinee" is a charming number with Yes/Gentle Giant styled vocals and intricate musical passages, and the nine-minute "Life Positions" once again delivers gorgeous Yes influenced symphonic prog rock. Lovely guitar & bass lines weave around each other, with spectacular organ & synth tones, melodic vocals, and expert drum fills all contributing for what is one of Rising's highlight tracks. The album ends on a soft note with the emotional vocal & keyboard ballad "In My Own Way".

This is fantastic stuff, and it's a shame that progressive rock fans had to wait this long to hear such spectacular music...but, better late than never. Now, this little known '70s Texas band is finally getting some exposure to the rest of the prog universe thanks to the folks at ShroomAngel. If you love classic Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Starcastle, and Genesis, you'll want to make sure you pick this CD up.

Track Listing
1. Texas Cyclone 9:41
2. Paradise Lost 3:57
3. Pilot Thoughts 7:24
4. Brave New Way 4:08
5. Drool Away 4:36
6. Pass Through the Columbian Mountains 6:43
7. Everyday Everyway 5:56
8. Mirkwood Forest 6:53
9. In the Heart 5:26
10. Saturate 4:49
11. Midnight Matinee 5:29
12. Life Positions 9:26
13. In My Own Way 3:14

Added: February 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Shroom Angel Records Facebook Page
Hits: 2572
Language: english

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