Skip to main content

Progressive Metal Review: Valence-Laser Baron

Release Date: 10thJune 2014
Label:   Indie

Laser Baron is the second release from the band Valence, following on from the debut release, Sleepwalker in 2012. The name I saw at one point was likened to “valence” in chemistry which has to do with the bonding power of an atom ( all over my head as in a previous life I was a Plant Physiologist) and the band “fuses or bonds” together metal, jam, classical and jazz to form a unique sophisticated progressive style. A terrific claim to make, so does the music available on Laser Baron substantiate this claim?

Valence came together in 2010, the debut release was two years later and now another EP puts in an appearance. The band is a 4 piece outfit comprising Michael Buonanno (guitar), Geoffrey Schaefer (guitar), Ian Morris (bass) and Chris Romano (drums). There is an interesting storyline to Laser Baron, in that it is based around a fictional scientist, Dr Mervin Taylor. The music will bring out the struggle between good and evil and transportation into an oppressed parallel universe, which is a lot to squeeze into 3 tracks. To parallel the music, the band is releasing a series of short stories, written by band member Geoffrey Schaefer, to further explain the full story of Laser Baron.

Laser Baron is a 3 track release with a total playing time of 17:14 minutes. The shortest track on offer is “Wormhole” lasting for 4:31 minutes and the longest track on the EP is the final track, “The Reasoning” nudging just over the 6 minute mark. (6:24)

The opening, title track, “Laser Baron” (5:19) is a full blooded assault on the ears with the twin guitars of Michael Buonnano and Geoffrey Schaefer doing what they obviously do well, powerfully backed up by Ian Morris (bass) and Chris Romano (drums). Some tasty little guitar riffs being thrown out here and there, but sometimes just about breaking the speed limit. At around 4:30 minutes there is a distinct change into a much more jazzy area, but with little time to evolve before the track has gone.

“Wormhole” (4:31) is an almost laid back spacey piece of music with some truly wonderful  guitar playing which, I will admit, was unexpected after the opening “Laser Baron.” As it progresses past the 3:30 minute mark, the urgency and the tempo certainly pick up and we are back into metal areas which escort the track out and into “The Reckoning.”

The final track, “The Reckoning” (6:24) returns us to the thunderous version of Valence so prevalent on the opening track. The difference this time round is that there are touches of the melodic themes from track 2 and the furious shredding style seems to have been curtailed. There then follows some excellent guitar passages, but the heavy metal thundering is almost palpable just below the surface.

Laser Baron, I will admit, highlights a style of progressive music which I would not class as my favorite. I find that guitarists who seem to like being speed merchants are notoriously difficult to tell apart, and thereby hangs the problem I found with Valence. I found parts of the songs excellent, and the musicians are obviously skilled, committed craftsmen, but unfortunately, I thought that much of what I was hearing was very generic in style and lacked the very factor they were aiming at, uniqueness.

Give Laser Barona few listens and make up your mind whether you want to create a space on your CD shelf, but on this occasion, I think I will pass.  An evolution from the debut release, but I still feel there is a way to go to get to where they want to be.

4/5 Stars

Key Track:  Wormhole

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

August 12, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk


Popular posts from this blog

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…

Jazz Fusion-Rock-Pop-Funk Review: Project Grand Slam-Trippin’

Release Date: June 29, 2018 Label: Cakewalk Records Website
This will be my sixth voyage into the world of Project Grand Slam (PGS). So, what is this experience going to be like this time? I would expect the same great combination of jazz, rock, funk, and pop that I always enjoyed.

Just so you all know PGS is: Robert Miller (bass), Mario Castro (saxophones), Bayden Goyo (keyboards), Joel E. Mateo (drums), Guillermo Barron Rios (percussion), Tristan Clark (guitar) and the beautiful Ms. Ziarra Washington (vocals).

So, now we are Trippin’ into 2018 with PGS. And the first track titled “1972” was like turning on the radio and hearing the Average White Band or Tower of Power. Yes sir, on the AM dial, it came blaring through back in those days. 

The title track is a real gas too. This number has some great sax from Castro and a killer rhythm section courtesy of Miller and Mateo. It shines the spotlight on them clear and bright. Let me tell you, those two are like the dynamic duo, kind of like a p…

New Biography on The Cars Singer/Bassist Benjamin Orr by Vermont Writer Joe Milliken to be Published November 2018!

Bellows Falls, VT – Veteran music journalist Joe Milliken recently announced a publishing deal with the Lanham, Maryland-based publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers to produce his first book, a biography about the late Benjamin Orr. Orr was the co-founder, co-lead singer, and bassist for the platinum-selling rock band The Cars. Titled Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, a release date is set for November 15, 2018.

Often considered the band’s heartthrob, Orr possessed an incredible voice, diverse musical talent and rare stage presence, all balanced by a magnetic, yet enigmatic personality, striking good looks, and a relentless determination to reach rock stardom. Born Benjamin Orzechowski (aka “Benny Eleven Letters”) and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Orr was, prior to becoming a world-famous rock star with The Cars, a “teen star” as a house band musician for the nationally syndicated television show Upbeat.

A few years later Ben met his musical partner and …