Don't wait in the q(cue)ue!
The German quintet CUEROCK have long been part of the German rock scene but 2011 is potentially the year that will lift them to fame. Their story is an interesting one, dating back to the 70's and 80's. But let's talk about music - their latest album was released in August 2012 through 7Hard with an extra track (Kaleidoscope Part II) and somewhat different track order than their demo album released almost a year earlier. The album lasts for about 64 minutes with an average track duration of 8 minutes.
The addition of Larry Lee on vocals gives the music of CUEROCK a different dimension - clean, powerful and catchy tone, resembling to that of James LaBrie of Dream Theater at the album's mellower parts but sufficiently intense when needed. This is obvious straight away from the opening "Underneath Sparkling Stars", a mix of up-tempo heavy progressive rock, catchy refrains and a Neo-prog feeling. The sophisticated bass lines continue in "Dream on in Neverland", a tribute to the band's founding member Axel Ludwig, who left this world in 2004. Lee puts in a strong emotional performance and his band-mates don't let him down either, accompanying him with combined guitar/keyboard solos. "More Sex", which appeared also in the CD "Physically" of 2004, is the first instrumental track of the album, floating in the sphere of jazz rock/fusion and blending influences from contemporary progressive metal such as Liquid Tension Experiment. Particulate mention should be made here to the haunting keyboard lines, potentially borrowing something from the days of Martin Orford in IQ. Surprisingly, the first half is concluded with a 9-minute ballad - "Kaleidoscope Part I" seems to jump out straight out of Dream Theater's Metropolis pt. 2.
"A Farewell to the Falcon" is the second instrumental track coming out of "Physically", at more or less the same range as "More Sex" but this time with a more distinct heavy prog approach, with a main theme that pays tribute to the riffs that made Rush popular. "For Sabine" is the last instrumental (and the last coming out of "Physically") and drops back to more emotional passages, this time influenced by the likes of Satriani and Vai - high-quality melodic guitar playing by the main composer Harhoff. I found "You are the Sun" as the least interesting track, influenced by heavy symphonic prog in the vein of Spock's Beard but this is quickly overcome by the closing "Kaleidoscope Part II". The main theme of part I is repeated here but the rest of the track dances in 90's DT-esque rhythms.
I was surprised by the level of musical maturity and the quality of orchestration. CUEROCK definitely sound as accomplished musicians, able to deliver fresh and dynamic progressive rock/metal. Whilst there are obvious influences from Dream Theater, the final result is a mixed bag of heavy prog, progressive metal, Neo-prog, fusion and heavy symphonic at times and will appeal to a range of progressive rock fans.
Did I mention the word "catchy"...? An excellent addition to your collection, these guys will have a lot of tales in the future (not passed)...
Originally posted in www.progarchives.com