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Utopia - Ra CD (album) cover

RA

Utopia

 

Eclectic Prog

3.66 | 130 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars I am fairly familiar with American Progressive Rock with bands like The Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, and Kansas. However I never fully invested my time to that sort of thing. I love a few bands but I never fully formed a true relationship with it. But there I was, in the Great Plains of a Spotify playlist with a bunch of 20 minute Prog rock songs. Some well known bands like Rush and Genesis was in there, but also some bands I never heard before. I was trying to find something new there, what band or album should I check out? Randomly I decided to hit shuffle, and what popped up was interesting. A 18 minute track where it starts off with some fairy tale. I was intrigued, and I decided to just listen to the full album to not ruin any surprise whatever that song was gonna be throughout, and what I found was something I could never anticipated for on this sort of album.

I think the best thing about this album is how much stuff that is one it. A lot of lengthy tracks on this one, with the smallest being only a little over 3 minutes long. It is also fairly accessible for a Prog record, however that is not counting the last song, but we'll get there when we get there. I feel like each track is pretty pop rock like, which is not a bad thing. In fact I do really like this style, especially on tracks like Magic Dragon Theatre and Eternal Love where they do still feel like Prog tracks, but with a pop edge to them so you groove out. Some of the tracks also are pretty hard hitting to. For example, the song Hiroshima feels like a hard rock song, and definitely would go well in a hard rock pub if it was played on the radio. I should also mention the vocal work is not half bad. It definitely feels right with the songs and their instrumentals. However while I do like the vocals, I feel like I've heard these same sort of vocal performances in bands like Kansas, Styx, and Blue Öyster Cult. It sort of makes it feel less original, and brings it down a bit for me.

I guess I should also talk about the last track on the album, Singring And The Glass Guitar. Now before I say my piece, I want to let you know that I do really like this track. It is epic and catchy when it needs to be and it does a good deal making a very nice Prog suite, albeit a little silly in a few moments, but I don't mind it. However, I have some problems with this track. I feel like the weakest parts of this track is the middle parts with the keys. When the hero is collecting the keys, they start to play a solo. For the river, it plays a drum solo, for the dragon it plays a guitar solo, etc and etc. Now I do love my fair share of solos, I think they are a fun way to flex the skills of a musician of the band, however I feel like done to much and you'll gain some problems, since I think it'll make the song feel a little clumped up with nonsensical sounds. The appeal of progressive rock suites that they are big and have a great layer of substance, this song feels like it has rarely any substance to be heard of, aside from the start and that very magnificent ending. While the track isn't bad, it is a very weak Prog suite, maybe the weakest one I have heard.

Ra by Utopia is a pretty good album. It has it's shining moments and has some great work to be found on it. However sometimes it feels a little nonsensical and maybe weak at times, maybe more than I'd like to admit. Overall, good album, but not the best.

Dapper~Blueberries | 3/5 |

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