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Heart of Cygnus impressed many with 2007's debut 'Utopia,' a genuinely delightful and completely unexpected work of American progressive metal. With this years 'Over Mountain Under Hill,' a brilliant and nearly flawless work, Heart of Cygnus have become the future and bright hope of the genre in America. Unfortunately, it seems their greatest admiration and recognition comes from overseas. Let's try to change that.

'Over Mountain Under Hill' is imaginative and breathtaking in scope and presence. Jeff Lane and Jim Nahikian travel through the progressive musical realms of those past like King Crimson to those present like Dream Theater. From 'Erik' through 'The Mountain King' I felt like a time traveler hearing the best of 70's prog made refreshingly new for our present day. On the first two HOC deftly marries heavier riffs with light vocal arrangements to create catchy memorable compositions. 'The Mountain King' begins with a light acoustic guitar and vocal prelude only to move into some compelling prog fusion melding those vocals with guitar.

For something more modern akin to Dream Theater, Spock's Beard and possibly even a little Procupine Tree, songs such as 'Under Hill,' 'The King And His Steed,' and 'Lost At Sea' defy expectations offering, at the same time, brisk and sophisticated arrangements of varied styles and completely convincing musicianship. Nahikian is masterful behind the drums, and Lane's pleases with his vocal range and thrilling fret work.

Heart of Cygnus' 'Over Mountain Under Hill' is some of the very best American progressive metal to be found gracing our shores in recent times. Thoroughly imaginative and amazingly entertaining, this is an epic work worthy of your complete and full attention. Highly recommended!

~Craig Hartranft

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