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  Lyrics for the Living
Artist: Visual Cliff
Label: Big Balloon Music 
Time: 8 tracks/

This is one of those rarities in rock music; an instrumental album.  There are no words anywhere, which makes the album title rather ironic.  That aside, there is a certain lyrical quality to the lead guitar playing of Rob Perez, which makes this album what it is--complexly intricate without bogging down or becoming mind-numbingly repetitive or boring.  Perhaps the best description is a combination of metal, jazz fusion, and progressive rock, much like Spock's Beard, but without vocals. The songs are each meditations on certain themes; the first track, "Piercing the Skies" is based on Psalm 33, the second on Psalm 49, and so forth.  This gives a certain underlying unity to the project, and, if you read the given psalm along with the music, you can get an idea of where the project is heading musically.  "Side 1", the first half of the  album works well this way.  The second half, about eternity, is a little less lyrical, as it is not based on specific passages, but still has much by way of impassioned solo work by Rob Perez, complemented by bassist/drummer Rick Mals, and keyboardist Rob Klan.  While certainly a high-quality piece of musicianship, the problem is that most people simply don't listen to progressive rock anymore.  Even ten years ago this album would not have seemed as out-of-place musically as it does today. This means that this album, an independently released, instrumental, progressive album with Christian overtones will necessarily have a small audience.  Oh well.  At least this band deserves credit for being true to themselves musically.

Alex Klages 5/26/2003


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