Progressive rock got its start in the late 60s with English bands such as Yes; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; and Genesis. They created albums that featured complex arrangements, virtuosic instrumentalists, and often very long songs. In the 50 years since that time, the genre has continued to grow and expand to include a number of bands from all over the world.
The Sea Within is a new international “supergroup” made up of players who have successful histories in other bands. Their new self-titled debut album is a fascinating look at what the genre has become. One of the strengths of The Sea Within is that the songs cover a broad stylistic range. In the fast-paced song “An Eye for an Eye for an Eye,” for example, a jazz-influenced piano solo comes right after a searing guitar solo.
In the album’s centerpiece, the 14-minute-long “The Broken Cord,” Swedish guitarist Roine Stolt adds his melodic guitar figures to a song that takes a series of twists and turns as tempos and meters change throughout the piece, much of it in ⅞ time. After an ethereal middle section, the song turns even more reflective as it builds to a climax—just one of many highlights on this album.
The Sea Within is more than just a collection of hot-shot musicians. They’ve worked hard to actually become a band; this debut album shows them using their individual skills to build something bigger. (InsideOutMusic)
About the Author
Robert J. Keeley is Professor of Education Emeritus at Calvin University and a music leader at 14th St CRC in Holland, MI.