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'Starship Universe'   

-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '2006'

Our Rating:
In the "now for something completely different" category, a Christian artist recording a progressive rock album seems to be an anomaly these days. From my own experience, I've never heard the two mix.

Prog is often associated with science-fiction concepts set to fairly complex rock and roll compositions and not the Word of God. Seemingly, the title of this record from progressive rock revivalist Mike Visaggio (http://www.mikevisaggio.com), "Starship Universe," is in tune with genre traditions dating back to the early '70s. However, lyrically Visaggio is seeking spiritual salvation. The opening cut, "In the Nazarene Church," reveals his Christian leanings from the song title alone.

Given that prog often reaches into otherworldly terrain with its sonic textures, the combination certainly makes sense. Moreover, given the cookie-clone approach that many Christians musicians are currently taking, Visaggio's love for vintage Yes, Genesis, and Kansas is refreshingly different.

Much of "Starship Universe" sounds old, as if this was a reissue of an out-of-print LP from the '70s. But what is dated can also be timeless, which is the effect that Visaggio produces here. The bubbly synthesizers and rolling, jazzy drums on "In the Nazarene Church" give flashbacks of early FM rock radio, before consultants were hired and castrated song lengths ("In the Nazarene Church" clocks in at 6:37) and creative ambition.

Visaggio has a surprisingly dramatic, soaring voice which is best showcased on "My Elders' Son" and "On the Ship of Emotion"; it is deep and ethereal, combining the best of Jim Morrison and David Bowie. At a time when so many artists are grounded by blandness, Visaggio takes off into uncharted territory with a joyful, God-given smile on his face.
  author: Adam Harrington

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VISAGGIO, MIKE - Starship Universe