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Classical/Heavy Metal Review: McCormick Percussion Group-Between Rock and A Hard Place

Release Date: January 13, 2015
Label: Ravello Records

The McCormick Percussion Group is headed up by Robert McCormick, who is the Director of the group and Corey Harvin plays guitar while Ciro Scotto, John Cage and Dan Senn are the composers. It is an interesting collaboration and the music they create on Between Rock and A Hard Place (Plugged & Unplugged) is fascinating.

The idea of classical music meeting heavy metal is nothing new however I felt listening to this purely instrumental take on that expression to be quite attention getting. The focus is more on the percussive side of the equation however, the use of the guitar and other instruments make for some thought provoking soundscapes, it’s like listening to a movie rather than watching it yet different things jump in and out of your mind while it’s playing.
The only track under 5 minutes is “Composition for Three Voices” then at the opposite end of the spectrum is “Unplugged” clocking in at a beefy 16:24. They never bite off more they can chew regardless of the time invested into any one track.

This is very progressive music, not progressive like legendary groundbreaking bands like Yes or ELP but with the same idea and goals of intermingling two genres to come out the other side with a digestible end product for the ears. The lead off track is titled  “ I. Hard Light-Hybrid Night” It is a good warm up for what is to come. It serves as a strong introduction for a suite of compositions that have you listening over and over at first out of curiosity then that turns into awe and pure enjoyment. This will not be for everyone but what progressive music is? It depends on your taste, mood and personal preferences, just like purchasing any other product, the choice is yours. I choose to explore and expand my listening experiences and this was the perfect album to engage my senses and push me forward, to be more progressive with my ears.

“II. On Death Ground” is a bit more moody and intense, kind of like the soundtrack you would hear during a suspenseful segment of a movie. It jumps back and forth and flows like an effortless stream down a mountain. Nothing sounds forced or difficult although it may sound like cacophony at times it does all come together and make sense but it may take a few listens to get to that point of understanding. This is why I feel the first three tracks are the most important. This is the foundation to the fortress of sound being built before the story coalesces then comes to an end.

“III. Onryõ” takes you down a different road and combines some lighter parts with the hard edged guitar sounds in a much different way in that the pace is like a musical stutter step. The percussive back end holds it all together and keeps a steady rhythm so everything else seems to fall into place somehow. Trying to explain what you hear is not always the easiest thing to do but in the end it’s all dependent on the listeners view and personal aural filter if you will.

If you like progressive, fusion, experimental and or metal this is something you need to hear then decide for yourself if it is something you want more of or if the journey should be over after one trip. I took more than one trip and expect to take some more. There is a lot to process here and that is the beauty of it. 

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: I. Hard Light-Hybrid Night, II. On Death Ground, III. Onryõ


1. Between Rock and a Hard Place: “I. Hard Light-Hybrid Night”  (Ciro Scotto)
2. Between Rock and a Hard Place: “II. On Death Ground”  (Scotto)
3. Between Rock and a Hard Place: “III. Onryõ  (Scotto)
4. Between Rock and a Hard Place: “IV: Mjölnir (Crusher)”  (Scotto)
5. Five  (John Cage)
6. Rivus  (Dan Senn)
7. Between Rock and a Hard Place-Unplugged  (Ciro Scotto)
8.Compositions for 3 Voices  (John Cage)

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

January 15, 2015

Review Provided By Write A Music 


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