I don’t get Cast. The two albums I have are marked by poor production, way too many lyrics, accented singing, and overly lengthy running times. Although they’re certainly not bad by any means, they just don’t do much for me. Hmm. I think the whole poor production thing is what really bothers me about so many neo-prog albums (although, why do I notice it so much more if the music is neo-prog?): albums like Iluvatar’s A Story Two Days Wide, Discipline’s Unfolded Like Staircase, and any Cast releases would be so much better with improved production.
I was browsing ProgressiveWorld today and realized how damn good that site is. I like to think of it as a commercial counterpart to Ground & Sky: the reviews are of more commercially-oriented prog albums for the most part, though G&S branches into pop- and neo-prog somewhat, and ProgressiveWorld doesn’t attempt to branch a into more avant stuff. Despite that, the design is great, and the reviews are good.
It’s interesting how, because of the group of reviewers I brought together at the birth of this site, the reviews archive tends to lean towards the more avant/difficult side of prog. More than most sites, anyway. This is changing slowly these days thanks to guys like Jon Fry and Gary Varney - though they may not like neo-prog as much as a ton of people out there, they still know a helluva lot more about it than, say, I do, or Bob Eichler, or Dominique Leone. It is a Good Thing that we now have a more diverse body of reviewers, though I get the feeling that G&S will always tend to be biased towards more experimental stuff, due in no small part to my own personal opinions.