Band Website: www.facebook.com/chameleonrisingband
Label: Shroomangel Records
Label Website: www.youtube.com/user/shroomangel
Release Date: 2013
I am constantly amazed at the number of American bands that we continue to uncover from the seventies that were brave enough to pursue the Progressive Rock Scene. This band Chameleon is from Houston, Texas and the good folks at ShroomAngel Records unearthed this treasure. The band was made up of musicians Spencer Clark (guitars, vocals), Mike Huey (drums), Craig Gysler (keyboards, vocals), and Rick Huey (bass) who rounded out the mid 70’s line-up with a line-up change being made later in 1978 with the addition of Marty Naul on drums. Rising is a compilation of the band’s music recorded over the period 1976 to 1978 and it displays a musical style clearly in the symphonic prog genre.
As I said, Rising is a full seventy-seven-minutes of music; a selection of tunes created over a period of years that showcase Chameleon’s varied styles, everything full-on classic symphonic prog of the opener “Texas Cyclone” [9:41] to more bluesy jamming riffs of “Everyday, Everyway” [5:56]. While their early influences of Yes and Genesis shine through, so does their very American slant on the genre, and just like bands such as Styx or Kansas, Chameleon have a keen sense of knowing how to rock. Inserted along the way are the obligatory sweeping crescendos and grand climaxes. Guitar solos, both acoustic and electric in fine Steve Howe form pepper these 13-tracks, as does some wonderful guitar and keyboard exchanges. But you also hear more complex, almost Gentle Giant-ish musical arrangements adding yet another layer of enjoyment to the music collected on Rising. Odd-tempos and time-changes are everywhere – its music that is never boring because it rarely stays in one place for very long.
Needless to say collectors of classic symphonic prog bands will be keenly interested in Chameleon but so will fans of Ameriprog like Kansas, Babylon and early Styx. These sound recordings are great, in fact it’s hard to think this is stuff that was recorded in the seventies it really sounds that good. This is a wonderfully impressive collection of symphonic progressive rock. I highly recommend you check out Chameleon.