Reviews - R
Along with Kreator, Helloween, Running Wild, Vendetta, Scanner and a bunch of other bands, Rage was part of the group of German bands on Noise International Records in the 80s. Celtic Frost and Coroner were the big exceptions, of course. Well, Rage soldiered on to bigger success in Europe, even though people in North America probably thought they broke up or something. This double-disc live album has a very genuine, live sound to it, right down to the hole in the songs when the guitar solo is going on. A three piece, Rage's live renditions of songs do sound different than the studio versions. Tell you what though, this is raw, sweaty, thrashy metal, falling somewhere between heavy and thrash. This band has written a billion songs, albums and mini-albums, so choosing what songs to play is probably very difficult. On here, they play some oldies, like "Prayers of Steel", "Suicide", as well as "Invisible Horizons" and "Don't Fear the Winter". Of course, there are songs from "Soundchaser" and "Unity" and the other albums. OK, the music: Peavy's singing is very raw. After hearing this, you'll hear exactly why Rage is not power metal at all. He doesn't have a too melodic voice, instead it's singing, but "masculine", if you will. The guitars and drums are very well played, but with some improvising and spontaneity. I still think it'd be good to have a second guitar in the live setting. Also, I can do without the drum and guitar solos. I'd rather hear two more songs. Anyway, this is a pretty honest and solid album. I really wish it were a four-cd album because this band has so many great songs. Yes, "Suicide" still sounds great, as does "Down" and...well, the whole thing, really.
RAINTIME -TALES FROM SADNESS
Arise Records from Spain has some ridiculously catchy bands, to make an understatement. Take Raintime, for example, an Italian bunch (I guess, going by the last names, which may not be a good idea) whose Tales from Sadness is good and when it ends I press "play" again. Donít let the title fool you, this is way upbeat and rocking metal. There is one slower song, "Chains of Sadness," but itís upbeat-sad (huh?). The first couple times I heard this I could tell by the overall quality of the music that I needed to hear this a lot. Raintime plays a kind of metal that has one of the broadest appeals possible. Itís rocking, upbeat as power metal or thrash, but it has a certain extra "something" that puts the music in a broader camp. The guitar can sound power thrash and then modern, melodic black/death. The vocals are clean-sung and growled. The clean parts sound traditional. The growling is closer to black metal than anything. If you are open-minded to younger metal bands that donít care about following the "rules" about not mixing styles, then I can tell you that this is a pretty infectious album. Some people will say that this band is not original or that they play "gay European" metal. The truth is that those people donít like this type of music and donít actually listen to it. However, if you listen to this album, if you really listen to it, itís undeniable that Raintime has made a good, rocking album thatís worth playing over and over again; one thatís a keeper.
RAISM - "THE VERY BEST OF PAIN"
The fellas at RELAPSE are billing this as an "evil SKINNY PUPPY", and they're not entirely wrong in saying so. Anyone who has listened to SKINNY P. more than once will notice a few similarities. However, there is a lot more going on here musically. While SKINNY P. lean toward simple mechanical rhythms, and vocals that seem cold and almost devoid of any humanity. RAISM offers a dizzying variety of sounds and musical textures, not to mention the vocals sound different in just about every song. Before this starts to read like a SKINNY P. review, let me elaborate on RAISM.... THIS IS A REALLY KOOL ALBUM!!! And since it is brought forth by the same geniuses behind IMPALED N., x-ROTTING C., and DIABOLOS R., what else can you expect but excellence? Beware though, this is not for everyone. If you're a closed minded asshole who won't listen to anything but death metal, you probably will not like it. On the other hand, if you like DIABOLOS R., or SKINNY P., or anything in that vein, then I totally recommend it! RAISM shows diversity and uniqueness, something that's sorely needed in the music scene these days. This is definitely one of my picks for 97, and I look forward to hearing more from RAISM in the future.
RAM-ZET - INTRA
Annoying! I find several things that annoy me about this album. I get the feeling that the elements that bother my ears are the very factors that make this music what it is. In other words, the music is supposed to be this way and I'm the one with the problem. See how that works?
The guitars are often going very fast, they are hard, chunky, heavy, so and so forth. Not bad, actually, and together with the drumming, when the music is going full force, it's pretty cool. The other elements of the sound consist of techno keyboards and tempo changes and high operatic singing and angry little monster screeching. The information I have says that people from The Kovenant and For My Pain are involved with Zet, the leader of this project. Thus, this is a bit weird, but not that strange, in truth. This is not really goth, because, basically, it's way more aggressive and harsh. There is no "dark romanticism" here, dark harsh pyscho metal, maybe.
What annoys me is the high operatic vocals. To me, it does not fit to have the speedy, shredding riffs with nice, smooth, operatic, Nightwish-like vocals. It makes me make irritated faces. I feel like they are trying too hard to be artistic. The black metal-like vocals grate on my ears, too, because of the screechy screaming. Hey, some people want to listen to metal that annoys them. Welcome to the ball.
RATOS DE PARAO - "CARNICERIA TROPICAL"
This Brazilian long-standing outfit delivers hardcore/metal crossover music. In many ways, this is closer to the "rock" of Motorhead, than the "core" of Sick of it All and stuff. The vocals alternate between gruff, and crazy screams. This is as heavy as death metal, and that's why the word "rock" isn't appropriate. Check it out.
REDEMPTION - THE FULLNESS OF TIME
SENSORY/LASER'S EDGE RECORDS
If you consider yourself a person that likes intelligent metal, then you should check this band out because the musicianship is so talented that, compared to this, 99% of metal just sounds mediocre or bad. Redemption features Fates Warning singer Ray A. in its ranks; the music itself is, if you must label it, complex-progressive thrash. One clarification: this does not sound like Fates Warning at all. For one thing, Redemption is quite a thrashy, very guitar-powered band, which simply has not been the case with Fates Warning since the late 1980's. Personally, I was not sure that I could get into this because I find that a lot of prog metal people are wankers writing boring songs and that are more musically masturbating than anything, but I was wrong. This is pretty rocking, even though it's prog. Of course, this music is pretty complex and skilled, but the songs do flow and are coherent. There are lots of technical guitar solos, but they are melodic. There are keyboards here, too, but unlike a band like Dream Theater, who often bore me, the keys serve the song and are not too upfront, though you can hear them clearly. Ray, on this album, sings, by today's standards, in a very traditional metal way, very talented, and it probably sounds pretty high. Nevertheless, this is no where near as high as, say, "No Exit," his debut with Fates Warning all those years ago. Ray sounds great on here. This album is about an hour long and it is excellent!
REPRISAL SCARS: ?
After the first song, I thought this was death metal. The last two songs (there are three in total) are kind of the same, but with more melody and groove. Really, I donít feel that this gives me a good idea about what the band is trying to do. Sounds ok, though.
ROB ROCK - HOLY HELL
On this album there is a power ballad called "I'll Be Waiting for You". It's a good number, if you consider that traditional metal albums often have cheesy ballads, like this one. Rob Rock can definitely sing well in the power metal style. The album, overall, is a pretty hard rocking work. Rock Rob has the up-tempo rockers, the "epic" lyrics ("First Winds of the End of Time" is title of one song. How ridiculous.), the mid-paced rockers, the guitar solos (good, competent, but nothing great), the riffing (again, good, but all pretty standard), etc. I feel that this album adheres to the standards of formula power metal. It has some pretty cool moments, some cool riffs, some cool this or that, but it's just too predictable. It sounds very much like a decent solo album that is a product.
ROB ZOMBIE - "HELLBILLY DELUXE"
All I have to say is it sucks White Z. broke up, but this album is pretty spiffy. Once more Rob shows us his musical genius and delivers in his own signature style of cool vocals, samples which are as cool to listen for as the songs, and totally original music vision. This is the only guy in mainstream music these days I can crank on MTV or totally respect. Seen the video for "Dragula"? Man, it's pretty funky. Wigged out, weird, wacky, and very cool. Just like the album. "Living Dead Girl", which is also in the "Psycho" remake, is eerie and evil like anything, and the whole album is a showcase for this man's talents and song writing expertise. I really can't say anything more other than buy this bad boy and live!
ROTTING CHRIST - "TRIARCHY OF THE LOST LOVERS"
This release isn't that much different than "NoN Serviam". With this release the band once again reiterates its style. This CD shows that R.C. is very melodic. I'm saying this because this band actually knows how to combine harmony-like sounds with straight thrashing riffs. For instance, song number 4 is mostly a slow affair with a repeating melodic riff that might even be classified as monotonous. Actually, "Non Serviam" was less melodic, but it was faster. This one shows the drummer doing some basic mid-paced style. In fact, there is hardly any speed-of-light- in-your-face-double-bass-to-rip-your-throat-apart drumming here. Now, do not misunderstand me, this band kicks butt, but they moved further from only kicking butt. The more I listen to this, the more I realize that the catchy riffs found here are really unusual in death metal or whatever you want to call them. DEATH's "Symbolic" has plenty of catchy leads / solos, but compared to this, DEATH actually sounds less melodic. If you do not listen to this at least twice, you will not understand what this is all about because this is actually complex. The first listen you might say this is plain, but R.C. has some songs that go for a min. into it without any vocals so that the listener will appreciate what the riffs try to accomplish because there is no sound over them. Overall, this shows R.C. progressing at a really quick pace into the realm of (and this might not be cool with the cheesy metal fans) complex, melodic, top-level death metal. Pretty amazing actually.
ROYAL HUNT - PAPER BLOOD
Just what is the title "Paper Blood" supposed to mean exactly? Blood made of paper? Oh, I see, like the kind they sell at Kinko's? Royal Hunt's progressive traditional heavy metal changes from album to album. The only thing with a warranty (ha!) is: classy, talented, musical, proggy, keyboardy, somewhat earthy/gritty heavy metal and great, soulful heavy metal/rock singing. To me, John West sings in the spirit of Glen Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Iommi, etc.), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple, etc.) and Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow, etc.). Here's a hint: John West might like Deep Purple. The guitar is often rocking and uptempo, but just as often it's proggy and the solos can be fast, as well as slower/bluesy. The keyboards feel omnipresent and can be heard at just about every moment. Sometimes they can sound reminiscent of Deep Purple (big surprise there), Uriah Heep--in other words, like classic rock. At other times, they sound orchestral, symphonic. "Yeah, ok, man, but what about the actual songs?" Well, they are memorable, well executed, speedy rocking moments combined with slower, melodic, multiple-layer/chorus singing. The drumming is often double-bass, speedy drumming, which slows down during the more soulful moments when John is crooning away, singing to the moon. Of course, saying that these are "memorable" songs needs to be qualified with the explanation that this is not really ear candy, like power metal or the Backstreet Boys (power metal is pretty pop, don't you think?). The music is "catchy" in a coherent, unified whole, that is also a monster.
RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER - BURIED IN THE FRONT YARD
Is one to assume that if you decide to give your band a stupid name, then you must be a joke band? Is there a quicker way to say the name of the band, like just calling it "R.G." or "That Band"? Further still, what is the plan with such a genius name? Some song titles are: "Stealing E.T.," "Orange and Black Attack," "The Day Merman Met Todd 'The Harpoon' Wilson," "Unleash the Troll," etc. After repeated listens, I find it a bit surprising that a band that obviously can thrash this well decides to play some sort of hobo bum funny thrash. While the playing is not out of this world, it is spectacular in places, like at the end of "Grab a Shovel (We've Got Bodies to Bury)", with the flashy soloing. The playing is tight, actually, and in the previously mentioned "The Day Merman." there is a nice acoustic break, followed by cool noodling. I don't listen to music to laugh at because I don't find humor in music, so maybe that's why this doesn't sound so funny to me. Fans of the well-known and popular category of shredding, speedy smelly hobo bum garbage dump eater thrash will surely want to run to the store to hear the newest sensation!!
RUNNING WILD - "DEATH OR GLORY"
This is not a new release, actually it's several years old. I want to review this because I think this band is Godly. This is a German band that specializes in heavy metal of the first rate. When talking about this music, people usually say, "BLACK SABBATH, MAIDEN, PRIEST, etc.." No one ever mentions (In this country at least) this band. Why you ask, because of ignorance. If you are tired of listening to your "evil" bands that sound like cheese and stuff and you do like traditional bands like SAXON, RAGE, ACCEPT, etc.. please, get any release by RUNNING WILD!