The super-obscure Ariel album is coming from the suburbs of Chicago. It’s a record that is only now being heard around the world. Although Rush is the obvious first influence, there are many more. The core components are all instrumental guitars, keys, drums, and percussion. The compositions are tight and complex, with strong fusion influences. There is no escaping King Crimson’s sound of that era, but there was also Doldinger’s Passport. The sax is gone, so imagine the sequencer-heavy Moog lines. If I had to go into detail, I would say that Ariel is a mix of Proteus (on Jigsaw) and the UK’s Red. The first side is great, but the last three tracks are simply amazing. They close with their best composition, which is always a sign of a great album. Ariel’s mid-80s sound is not deceiving (despite its slightly psych-influenced guitar tone). Yet, when compared to the rest of the era, the band proves that the middle 80s weren’t a complete wasteland (heavy music exempted). This one deserves the buzz its currently receiving in the underground from

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