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The Prog Collective: Dark Encounters
The Prog Collective - Dark Encounters Album Art

The Prog Collective: Dark Encounters

Melodic Progressive Rock
3.5/5.0

The Prog Collective is the invention of songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and also the bass player for Yes, Billy Sherwood. Essentially, he writes and arranges the songs, then gets various kindred spirits from the genres of rock, prog, jazz to record. My last experience with Collective was 2013's Epilogue (which included the spoken word title track voiced, weirdly, by Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner). Eleven years on, and two albums in between, Sherwood returns with Dark Encounters.

Billy Sherwood - Click For Larger Image

Billy Sherwood

Again, the album features a host of prog superstars including, among many, Steve Stevens, Steve Morse, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Kasim Sulton, Steve Hillage, Frank Dimino, Joe Bouchard, Rick Wakeman, Todd Rundgren, Chad Wackerman, Marco Minnemann, and Patrick Moraz. Find the complete list and the individual contributions to each song at Glass Onyon PR.


Returning to the album, Dark Encounters, includes thirteen new compositions and two cover songs as bonus tracks. The album is mostly instrumental with, excepting the bonus tunes, ten instrumental and three vocal tracks. Generally, I would describe the album as moody and melancholic, ambient and atmospheric, lightly technical prog with each song featuring the skills of the guest musician. Most songs feature a large contingent of keyboards, perhaps even sampling as well. It's not overwhelming but the synths and such are persistent.

The music then reminds me of a soundtrack to a 50's sci-fi space adventure where, in the future, the music is experimental, but also weird and foreboding. Dark Encounters, however, is not entirely like that. The arrangements are so similar that it could merely be one song with thirteen movements. Maybe that's intentional. Still, as a listener I could distinguish anything exceptional. The vocal tracks were the same, perhaps not even necessary. You can dispute the musicianship or production which is phenomenal. But prog Muzak also comes to mind.

The cover songs were lackluster to just okay. Todd Rundgren singing his hit, I Saw The Light, to Wakeman's arrangement was rigid, not lively like the former's original rendition. Nektar and Wakeman's cover of 10cc's I'm Not Love was better because the pivotal part of the song is the vocal arrangement, which was done quite well.

All in all, The Prog Collective's Dark Encounters is another jaunt into the realm of ambient, atmospheric, and melancholy synth-forward prog rock from Billy Sherwood and a host of talented and skilled friends and musicians. Recommended if you enjoy the same. Listen to the videos and support the project.



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The Take Away

The Prog Collective's Dark Encounters is another jaunt into the realm of ambient, atmospheric, and melancholy synth-forward prog rock from Billy Sherwood and a host of talented and skilled friends and musicians. Recommended if you enjoy the same.

Support the artist, click the link below to buy the album in your favorite format.

Purchase The Prog Collective - Dark Encounters at Amazon
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