VERTICAL ALIGNMENT from South Carolina/USA is playing the American type of 70s Progressive Rock, which is very melodic with acoustic guitars, many keyboards, melodic guitarwork and a lot of harmony vocals, sort of like STARCASTLE, STYX and KANSAS. They do it very well and at one point you would actually think they recorded this back in 1978 and just re-issued it onto CD! The artwork of the CD is very nice and so is the production and sound quality of the CD. All together this makes it the perfect release for anyone missing this kind of American prog-pomprock. It is also not far away from ENCHANT and more recently, the CRYPTIC VISION stuff, so we have something special here and basically it is a pleasure to listen to this album from start to finish, because the musicianship is of a very high level. With many singers (most of them very impressive, especially the brothers FITZPATRICK in the almost PRIDE OF LIONS meets KANSAS sounding AOR-Pomprocker &"Freedom's Call") and lots of arrangements as well as melodies, this CD is a must-have for fans of KANSAS, CRYPTIC VISION and STARCASTLE.
(Points: 8.4 out of 10)--Gabor Kleinbloesem of Strutter'zine, The Netherlands
Peter Jorgensen's dreamy progressive hard rock band has released their long awaited full length album, Signposts. Besides Pete on guitar and keyboards and his wife Terri on bass, Signposts features Randy George and Wil Henderson of Ajalon, Steve Babb, Fred Schendel, and Eric Parker of Glass Hammer, David Wallimann of Glass Hammer and Young Earth, Carl Groves of Salem Hill, Mike and Shaun FitzPatrick of the band FitzPatrick, Eddie Jerlin of Everlasting Arms, and Kevin Jarvis of Farpoint.
We first heard Vertical Alignment on the CPR Volume 1 CD, with their song Once in a Dream. It was a promising start, but Signposts delivers the real deal. Pete Jorgensen is a deep thinker, and his songs tackle some heady topics on this epic album. Signposts takes major historical events from our times and shows us how they are spiritually significant in relevance to the hour we are living in.
The album starts off with the title track, an acoustic ballad that features Keven Jarvis of Farpoint on mandolin and Jim Branreuther on lead vocals. The vocal melody on this song sounds a tad cheesy to my ears, and it doesn t really do the album justice as an introduction, although the lyrics set the stage for the semi-concept album theme. The best is definitely yet to come. Dress Rehearsal kicks in with a bang of bright synthesizers and some heavier electric guitar. Branreuther sounds much better on this war-themed power-prog tune, which features some extended keyboard and guitar soloing by Jorgensen. ELP-style keyboards mix with an early 70's rock vibe. Next is one of my favorites from the disc, Ballad of the Titanic, sung by Eric Parker, also of CPR fame. His fine crystalline voice fits this ode to pride and the fall perfectly. Guitarist Dave Walliman and keyboardist Fred Schendel also add their considerable talents to the epic tale. This is high prog rock at its best. Freedom s Call follows, again featuring Schendel, but sung by the Fitzpatrick brothers (who s expressive voices sound a lot like Shane Lankford of Orphan Project). Anchored by a driving bass line by Pete s wife Terri, Freedom s Call builds over 16 minutes, with the lyrics drawing parallels between Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Christ s sacrifice, and the freedom of African American slaves. Fred Schendel really shines during the extended instrumental breaks. Children of the Son, which features Wil Henderson and Randy George of Ajalon, expounds upon the terrible plight of orphan children in Romania over a bed of Yes-like symphonic rock. The Towers is based on the 2001 terrorist attacks, and the song features Edward Jerlin on keyboards. Eddie formerly worked at the World Trade Center, but was off work on jury duty the day the planes struck. Having him as a guest on the song adds immensely to the emotion and poignancy of the tale. Jessica Cole adds expressive lead vocals. Rented Houses features Carl Groves of Salem Hill, one of my all time favorite vocalists. The song uses the analogy of our bodies being but temporary habitations, using world events as examples, or sign posts if you will, of the times we are living in. Mixing different media snippets with keyboard-driven prog rock, this is a progressive tour-de-force. What's a prog album without a fantasy theme? Next we delve into the world of Stephen Lawhead s books, with the lyrics to Kingdom of Summer taken right out of his novel Taliesin. Mike Fitzpatrick is back on lead vocals on this keyboard driven, change of pace song. As a fan of Lawheads books, I think Vertical Alignment has put together a fine interpretation of the spirit of the book. Rented Houses Epilogue completes the disc with Carl Groves again lending his distinct voice to a summation of the world events that lead us upward to a Vertical Alignment. Signposts is sure to lead the way among the best albums of 2007.--Dave Taylor of Virtuosity, USA