Salem Hill

Not Everybody's Gold

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American proggers Salem Hill were expected to release a bombshell and, although Not Everybody's Gold is not "classic" material, it sure delivered the goods. The band has perfected its brand of American progressive rock in the vein of Kansas: complex, heavy but also very melody-driven, with four-voice harmonies. "Riding the Fence" is all that, while the ballad "The Last Enemy" takes things further, adding a choir for the bridge. "Let Loose the Arrow" has been tailored for rock radios, while "Sweet Hope Suite" is a 30-minute opus, moving from section to section with grace and efficiency. It could have been split into different tracks but as a whole it actually stands quite well, something that is far less easy to achieve than most prog rock bands seem to think. This last track features a guest appearance by violinist David Ragsdale (of Kansas). The song is actually just short of 28 minutes in length, with a short silly instrumental tune hidden at the end. Not Everybody's Gold doesn't have the conceptual strength and the anger found in The Robbery of Murder. Especially, there is no track that can match the power of "Someday" from that album. Still, Salem Hill put together an impressive CD. Fans will be delighted and those who can't stand stadium prog rock à la Kansas or Styx will pass.

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