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Cairo - Conflict and Dreams 1998

Depending on your point of view, you are either going to categorise this CD as either "A musical tour de force" or "A load of self indulgent tosh." Whatever, Cairo have unreservedly and irrevocably nailed their colours to the Progressive Rock mast. From the classic combination of Hammond C3 organ and Moog synthesiser to the bewildering changes of key and time signatures this album bears all the hallmarks of classic prog. Cairo's keyboard player is a real revelation. If you like Keith Emerson, then you will love what this guy does with a HammondIt kicks off with Angels and Rage, which to my mind is the least accessible track on the album with style and virtuosity taking centre stage, and tunefulness taking a bit of a back seat. Then things start to kick into gear with Corridors. Western Desert is a prog masterpiece, over 17 minutes long with one of the best keyboard solos I've heard in a long while. Imagine is a lovely piano and guitar interlude before the high energy stuff is back with Then you were Gone. The final track Valley of the Shadow is everything prog. A song that tells a story, over 15 minutes long, full of key and time signature changes, virtuoso solos. Phew!OK so as you can probably tell I'm in the "musical tour de force" camp on this one. It's not a perfect album. The vocals are OK (But not world class, like Anderson, Lake or Gabriel) The instrumentation is fabulous, the performances range from great to brilliant, but I found the production lacked real sparkle. However that said it's an excellent addition to the Prog Rock cannon.Other bands worth a listen: Spocks Beard, Transatlantic, Dream Theatre, Liquid Tension Experiment, Arena.

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Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Cairo is known as a band that sounds like EMERSON LAKE & PALMER and YES. I can agree to this in a way but they are certainly no immitation of any band. Cairo has a unique own sound mainly because of the singer. It's a fast operating band and it almost seems as if they improvise especially during their longer tracks . This is probably not the case but it shows that these are great musicians, best example is Mark Robertson with his almost endless organsolos. Best track to me is Western Desert, a fantastic epic. Another fine song is Then you were gone which brings out a great atmosphere. Angels and Rage as well as Valley of the Shadow are somewhat heavier and are fairly accessible songs. Corridors is a slightly less impressive one but still good.

Overall a fantastic effort from these American proggers that can only be rewarded with 5 stars
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Tracks:

1. Angels And Rage (10:23)
2. Corridors (11:56)
3. Western Desert (17:08)
4. Image (1:25)
5. Then You Were Gone (8:25)
6. Valley Of The Shadow (15:52)

Total Time: 64:29
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Musicians

- Mark Robertson / synthesizers, Hammond organ, grand piano, vocals
- Jeff Brockman / drums
- Alec Fuhrman/ guitars, vocals
- Bret Douglas / lead vocals
- Jamie Browne / bass

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