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Flash - Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter CD (album) cover

FEATURING RAY BENNETT & COLIN CARTER

Flash

Eclectic Prog


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4 stars After a decades long hiatus, Ray Bennett and Colin Carter reprise their 1970's band "Flash" with new material and a reprise of "Manhattan Morning," first released on "Out Of Our Hands" in 1973. Bennett handles six string and bass guitar, and Carter contributes rhythm guitar, vocals and songwriting. I'm especially impressed with how Carter's voice has mellowed over the years, evolving into a blusier, huskier tone that meshes easily with the music. One has to wonder how the album might have sounded if Peter Banks had contributed, but sadly, it was not to be. I do not hesitate to recommend this CD to fans.
Report this review (#982904)
Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars High time for comebacks! Like I said in previous reviews, it's been high time for bands to come back. A few years ago another dinosaur came back to Earth: Flash.

Flash was originally formed in 1971 by Peter Banks, first Yes guitar player, and Colin Carter, who was the singer of the first Camel line up, before they started to record. Ray Bennett joined them and Flash was born. They released 3 albums between 1972 and 1973 and then disbanded around 1974.

The duo Ray Bennett and Colin Carter got back together again around 3 years ago to work on a new album and play live. The result is Flash Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter (2013) (what a terrible name for an album), released by Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records in May. The album was recorded in Nevada, the USA and it was produced by Ray Bennett himself.

Together with Ray (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, bass, keyboards and percussion) and Colin Carter (vocals and guitars) we have the musicians Rick Daugherty (keyboards), Mark Pardy (drums) and Paul Pace (drums).

When track one 'Night Vision' begins one quite doesn't realize that it's been 40 years since they recorded their latest album, Out Of Our Hands (1973). The track is full of layered vocals in great 70's Prog style. Second track is quite a mystery. If you never heard it before you can actually think it's one of their own songs, but 'Hurt' is in fact a Nine Inch Nails song that got famous by the version Johny Cash did some years ago. This version is quite a good surprise.

'Something So Dark' and 'Manhattan Morning' pass without much fuzz. The latter is, in fact, a re-recording of the original song presented on their 3rd album. Here the voice of Colin Carter seems very tired. 'Into The Sun' brings back the interesting Flash. Great bass line and lots of vocals. 'Grand Canyon' follows with a weird beginning, more of an upbeat track with great guitars, but a bit too long for my taste.

The last 3 tracks are a bit shorter. Starting with 'Morpheum' that is an instrumental track with great emphasis on the guitars and charged with space synths. Then we have '10,000 Movies' with a great initial riff and a really interesting melody. 'Richerd Of Venice' closes the album as an instrumental track, based again on guitars but this time with a piano helping to glue everything together. But honestly it is a very weak piece to finish an album.

In general, Flash Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter (2013) is a regular album that ends up being a 50/50 relation. It has many great moments that praise their 70's heritage, but at the same time half of the album is too 'regular', nothing really special in it. It has some great bass lines, very interesting guitar moments too and some tracks shine with their own light, but that's pretty much it.

If you're a fan of the band's first three records you can go for it with a resting head.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

Report this review (#994023)
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I'm a sucker for good throwback prog. With my advancing age I adore any new album that brings me back to those days of buying a stack of used records and discovering that progressive (or art rock back in those days) gem. Wobbler, The Flower Kings, and a number of other groups give me that feeling now that most of the old bands, if they are even around any more, often are unrecognizable from their early sound. Well after a 40 year absence, Flash has returned to the scene (thanks go out to Sherry Noland, who has graciously kept us in the loop as Ray Bennett and Colin Carter were recording). And the album sounds very much like their 70s releases. Carter's voice has barely changed, only losing a slight amount of the upper registers - a good thing, in my opinion, as I'm never too pleased with the sound of men singing so high. Bennett, who plays guitars, bass and keyboards, is as good as ever. The album opens with an orchestral flourish on Night Vision, and then settles in to that familiar sound. Their sound still, to me, brings up images of what Yes might have sounded like had they not cast off Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, yet still advanced their progression into symphonic prog. The similarity is no coincidence, as the members of Flash and Yes came from the same scene, and some played together when forming their style. Other songs, to my ears, remind me a bit of Kansas, with some broad themes that bring up the American Midwest. Grand Canyon, with lyrics that don't seem to have anything to do with the title, sound quite a bit like Rush. And the next song, Morpheum, is the coolest on the album, a smoky jamming piece, much like Corvus Stone (a recent favorite of mine). Bennett does great work on the guitar, playing some great solos, and shines even more on bass, where he plays around the music like a young Chris Squire. And the music itself is great. Some tracks appear to be settling into familiar patterns, but never stay there too long, instead veering into unexpected twists and turns. My only complaint is in the production, where the drums, and often the vocals and even the guitars, sound too compressed, giving the music a slightly mushed sound, like it is being played on a 70s era radio. Otherwise, this is a grand comeback.
Report this review (#996665)
Posted Friday, July 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars 40 years after their last album!

Exactly 40 years after their previous album comes this new release from Flash! My first impression inevitably focused on the terribly unimaginative album title ("Featuring Ray Bennett & Colin Carter") and the equally unimaginative sleeve picture which just features two simple, black-and-white photographs of Ray Bennett and Colin Carter in the recording studio on a plain black background with white logo. With such a long time in the making one would have expected something more exciting (though, admittedly the first two Flash albums also feature awful sleeve pictures with half-naked body parts).

Still, it is the music that should count, not the title and cover art. But even here there were early warning signs. Out of the nine tracks one is a cover of a song by Nine Inch Nails (!) and another is a re-make of the band's own Manhattan Morning (originally from Out Of Our Hands). After such a long time in the making, it is a bit lame to do covers and re-makes.

Yet, knowing all of this, I still wanted to give this new album a chance. And with low initial expectations, I can't say I'm disappointed. But I'm certainly not very impressed either. It's rather okey, but not much more than that. The sound is instantly recognisable as Flash and surprisingly little has happened to the band's sound in 40 years! Fans of the bands 70's albums will probably be able to enjoy this one as well, as indeed do I to a moderate degree. The material is far from being up to par with the very good self-titled debut from 1972, but it is up to par with the weaker follow-up In The Can.

Recommended for fans of Flash and for those who feel they need to have everything even remotely related to Yes, but the average Prog fan need not bother.

Report this review (#1025784)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Three star records have a wide extent; they could be very nice and also of course quite boring. This is honestly one of the late ones. Flash is an old band which made three records in the early seventies and was famous for feature Yes' first guitarist Peter Banks. This comeback is the first record in exactly fourty years and their fourth record for all. Banks now is dead and this record features Ray Bennett (guitars, vocals, bass, keyboards and percussion), Colin Carter (lead vocals, guitar), MArk Pardy (drums), Paul Pace(drums), Wayne Carver(bass) and Rick Daugherty(keyboards). It seems that this is almost a two men record with two "stars" and some other guys: is that the answer why I think the music is quite flat.

The record has nine tracks which all have got the ratings five or six from me so they are either okey or rather boring. For me it's very anonymous rock music with a sound too distorted to be appreciated(a common condition today). Instrumentally I think this music often works with especially good(but not unusual) guitar work. The vocals do not affect me much, in the first song for exemple I think they work when they're together but not when it's done solo. The best songs are "10 000 movies", a rather usual rock song with vocals that work, "Hurt" which has some instrumental ambitions and "Manhattan morning". Those songs are good(6/10), the others unfortunately feels inferior.

I have no idea of the old Flash, I should check that out, this is probably not typical for the band's old style. This music is okey, I have not arguments to give it two stars but I wouldn't recommend it.

Well I change my mind anyway, two and a half stars, rounded downward to two.

Report this review (#1076002)
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm guessing not too many bands have a forty year gap between albums but FLASH are back and yes it's been forty years since their last recording called "Out Of Our Hands" released in 1973. This 2013 release features two original members in Colin Carter and Ray Bennett. I must admit I was surprised at how good some of these tracks are, pleasantly surprised I guess you could say, but a few songs really drag this album down for me hence the 3 star rating.

"Night Vision" is a top three track for me and it's the one where the vocals sound the best. Like the album I find the vocals to be really inconsistent. This song is a symphonic piece with a good rhythm to it at times. An excellent start. The biggest surprise for me was hearing "Hurt" for the first time not expecting it to be THAT song as in the NINE INCH NAILS classic. This is the longest tune at 9 1/2 minutes and they do a pretty good job with it. "Something So Dark" has double tracked vocals at times but it's the vocals that do little for me and this song is the first letdown.

"Manhatten Morning" is a cover of their own song from their previous album "Out Of Our Hands" and I really like this one, in fact it's a top three as well. The lyrics are so meaningful as I can visualize what he's singing. A definite highlight. "Into The Sun" and "Grand Canyon" are the two worst songs in my opinion. I just can't get into either one at all and both are over 8 minutes in length. "Morpheum" is my other top three and it's an instrumental. Spacey synths to start as a heavy sound kicks in with some excellent bass. A calm follows with more spacey synths. The guitar sounds good here as well. "10,000 Movies" really reminds me of the band TILES even the vocals on the chorus. A pretty good tune. "Richerd Of Venice" ends the album and it's an instrumental with some rare piano leading the way. I like it.

A good comeback album that certainly has it's moments. FLASH fans should really check this out.

Report this review (#1476725)
Posted Friday, October 16, 2015 | Review Permalink

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