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Relocator Relocator album cover
3.84 | 67 ratings | 24 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Red Vibes (6:15)
2. Biosphere (8:02)
3. Relocator (5:26)
4. Proxima (6:18)
5. Aavishkar (10:32)
6. 13 Reasons (6:33)
7. Urban Blue (6:35)
8. The Alchemist (11:32)

Total time 61:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Stefan Artwin / guitars, programming
- Michael Pruchnicki / bass, bass
- Frank Tinge / drums, percussion
- Bartek Strycharski / electric violin
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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Buy RELOCATOR Relocator Music

RELOCATOR Relocator ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

RELOCATOR Relocator reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars The new RELOCATOR came back with rigidly steady metallic structuralism, despite of their unsteady ensemble structure until 2008.

They say the original RELOCATOR had been active as a live band but unstable for their lineup until 2008 but in early 2009 Stefan and Michael, two founding members, decided to revive and remotivate RELOCATOR as a new project for completing their full album with lots of material they had worked on for so long. Not only simply metallic but more experimental and progressive - finally in 2010 they could release their eponymous debut album. Perfectly supported by the massive strict rhythm section featuring Mike's bass and Frank's drums, and conducted by Stefan's sharp-edged aggressive guitar and Bartek's flexible graceful violin solo (exactly with mysterious power in "Red Vibes" and "Aavishkar"!), the story named Relocator can carry on comfortably. Silky but bold, melodious but complex - their sound and style can be expressed like that, can't they? Derek's swift but minute keyboard play is excellent (for me especially in the second track "Biosphere" - Van Halen's Jump-ish keyboard delight, and in the latter part of the sixth "13 Reasons" - complicated but graceful key maze) too. However, let me say the most important point about them and their album is, not the playing skill or talent of each player, but the solidarity among all of them and fascination by this solidarity.

Enjoy the novel world-ful of RELOCATOR, please.

P.S. Their album's booklet is also attractive! I'm very amazed!

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Relocator is one of the pleasent surprises from this year in jazz fusion world. Formed in 2004 in Germany Relocator knew from the stars how must sound a jazz fusion piece with prog metal tentencies. They are a quartet with bass, drums, guitar and violin but happend to have as invited guest no one else then Derk Sherian, so imagine the overall sound how solid and catchy is. I must confess I was realy impressed by this band and debute album, released in january 2010. Everything is working like a clock, it's obvious they are germans, the album is all instrumental and has some spectacular passages all over. I like that Derek Sherinian is realy an invited guest and doesn't take the lead with his keybords , he has a solid contribution for sure but the band is the one that gives the sound in the end. All four musicians realy shines, I like the atmosphere, is little lighter then other production from this field, but is a good thing here, all tracks are balanced, not one is in front then other, I appreciated this because this way the album has consistency allthe way. The first two pieces struck me most, because of the splendid violin use Red Vibes and Bisphere, a very delightfull sound , who by the way goes hand in hand with the rest of the instrument, great passages, not to Dixie Dregs or Jean Luc Ponty , just perfect , quite melodic but yed energic and positive in vibe. The drumer is fantastic, realy did a great job, very sure of what he does, never to pushy never to slow or fast, my fav musician from here. The jazzy elements are realy strong melted with more rougher ones, close to progressive metal, it gives a special and very tought sound. All pieces are lenghty enough for the musician to show us that they mean bussines, they realy do with each passage they play. So, overall an excellent work by this young band , they realy done it with this one, while is nothing close to a masterpiece I can appreciate this work to the max and give without hesitation 4 stars, keeping in mind that the booklet is perfect , very futuristic in aproach and well done, tanks to design/artwork colourbites from Germany. Recommended for sure one of the most pleasent album of the year so far and why not one of the good albums from this genre in last years. Who enjoy Planet X, LTE, even some of the Sherinian solo must check this one out because worth every second.
Review by jampa17
4 stars Relocator is an instrumental prog band in the route of Planet X. You can bet they are on the top of the game and they don't have anything to envy to those impressive masters. Well, in fact they have one little thing: Derek Sherinian. He played as a guest musician and it's great to hear that he fit in just like another member. He is not in the album to show off and send the rest of the music backwards, this is a serious and professional effort and they manage to merge perfectly the music. Everything is on the right amount of energy and quality. This is how groups should sound, all the instruments sharing ideas, phrases and solos without too much flashes and showing off.

I recommend this album to any Prog Metal or Jazz Fusion fans. Those who love or like Planet X, this is your chance to continue enjoying great music with great style and performers that has the level to be in the top of the top. Don't worry, it's not just a clone of Planet X, it has its own magic and sometimes it sounds better, more cohesive and more like a band.

One of the main problems with instrumental projects is that most of the time they put their trust on their skill more than in the songwriting. This is not the case, this is music well written and better performed and gives to the audience a lot of stimulating ideas to fly away and let the music drives you to a very nice place. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride. 4 strong stars. Hoping to have more of them in the future. I thanks Kyo to let me try his music.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Accomplished first studio outing from these Germans who, despite the munch of Stefan Artwin's guitars, retain a distinct fusiony sound. A sound that will likely please both progmetal fans who like a hint of Jazz and fusionheads with a taste for metal. Either way, this is a quintet that impresses with plenty of instrumental grooves, cool changes and pro performances (including Derek Sherinian's unmistakable keyboards). My only complaint is that the material sounds a bit dated; if this had been released fifteen years ago it may have made more waves. As it is, I fear it may come off as simply another modern heavy-fusion record. Great stuff, but we've kinda been there [i.e. Sherinian's own Planet X or Joe Satriani]. On the other hand, good music is always welcome, and I'm sure this one will be received warmly by anyone who can't have enough quality jazzmetal on their shelf. Overall, a safe bet and a good buy.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is a really strong debut from German-based multinational band. Being a fan of jazz fusion, I listen bunches of instrumental albums every months. There are one interesting thing I noticed - very often listeners and even critics can't find a right classification for some border albums. I was always surprises how often instrumental prog metal albums are tagged as jazz fusion!

So - this time everything is in it's right place. This album is greatly played and produced symphonic instrumental metal prog album. With just a very few jazz fusion touches.

Symphonic element is coming mostly from guest collaborator Dream Theatre and Planet X keyboardist Derek Sherinian. His keyboards passages are recognisable, and add some symphonic monumentalism to heavy (metal) fusion band's sound. To be honest, I don't think adding Derek's keyboards was just marketing trick ( having his name on the album's cover will attract more potential listeners for sure).Trying to imagine band's music without keyboards, I hear perfectly calculated and well balanced German rock machine, very reliable, but a bit too predictable and boring. So - these keyboards gave to that release not only attractive name on the line-up list, but really some bombastic symphonism, possibly even a bit vintage and naive, but really the component they needed to complete their sound.

I am more fan of jazzy releases, so possibly this music is not my cup of tea in full. But I really enjoyed when listened to this work: the music is obviously a work of crafted team, not soloists, and the sound is well played and even better balanced. Yes, according to the genre's rules you don't need to expect some experimental sounds and structures there. Just quality modern progressive instrumental heavy (metal) fusion, very calculated, but with some nice accessories, as electric violin, added. To be honest, in many moments I prefer Relocator debut's sound to some Planet X works - Derek Sherinian in his own project too often was oversensitive and over bombastic, with risky and not very tasteful flirting with jazz fusion. This Relocator's debut is a bit more ascetic, without overproduction, and possibly is more straight forward, but open minded.

I believe more individual style with brighter compositions in future could easily bring them to the forefront of heavy fusion instrumental bands.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band RELOCATOR makes a solid debut effort with this self-titled production, and it's easy to understand why the main members of this act refused to let these compositions rest when the original band broke up and decided to form a studio-based project instead.

Musically we're dealing with an instrumental progressive metal act, and the stylistic foundation isn't light years away from the most cliched comparison made when it comes to this general style. The contributions of former Dream Theater keys man Derek Sherinian possibly adding a bit of additional flavour in just that direction. Dark and often grimy guitar riffs is a frequent and recurring aspect throughout, and with dramatic keys surging on top intense and heavy themes are formed. But rather than staying put within this context, which in itself does provide ample possibilities for variation, Relocator opts for more diversity.

An often overlooked philosophy by metal bands is the thought of less is more. This act is aware of that line of thought though, and frequently insert gentler motifs with sparse instrumentation and an emphasis on mellow details. At times reminding me somewhat of the more accessible parts of the Alex Masi lead MCM project.

Another subtle flavour setting thsi band slightly apart are the keyboard textures, which rather often contributes with much more sophisticated motifs than the bog standard symphonic backing for riff cascade which is so much a trademark of the progressive metal genre. I often found myself thinking that a particular passage here might just as well have been a part of a symphonic progressive rock composition, and that the metal riffs underscoring it just happened to be metal in this case.

The use of electric violin does enrich this production quite a lot too, and there are small subtle details to discover throughout that should please the avid listener. The 70's psych inspired guitars given a subservient place in the arrangements on a few occasions throughout the eastern inspired track Aavishkar as an example of just that.

And while I don't think that this is an album that will draw in myriads of new fans to the instrumental progressive metal camp, it is a good and solid production throughout. Opening number Red Vibes the one who impressed me the most, possibly due to being the first foray into this band's musical universe.

Anyhow, if you like your progressive metal to be instrumental chances are that you'll appreciate Relocator's first foray into the world of recording artists. While not attempting to create a musical revolution they do add their own subtle nuances to the proceedings, and are amongst the relative few bands of the genre that can't be said to be direct followers of any of the major influential bands of the genre.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Impressive Jazz-Rock Fusion - Prog Met album

Looking at the line-up as well as the first spin of the CD I got this in my mind: a combination of music from Chick Corea Electric Band, Jean Luc Ponty, Didier Lockwood, Eddie Jobson (and of course not Stephan Grapheli who plays really mainstream jazz music), Liquid Tension Experiments, Gordian Knot, Planet X, Alan Holdsworth and the like. Well, this album does not sound quite metal as Liquid Tension Experiments (for example). Got an idea already about their music? If you have LTE second album, try spin the opening track "Acid Rain" which gives you the sense of progressive "metal" at opening part of the song. The music of Relocator is not the one similar with that but it sounds to me that they mix the music in a balanced way that does not give an impression that certain instrument dominates another in particular segemants. It really impressed me the first time I played it because the music sounded solid, composition-wise, energetic style and having an excellent mixing and production - the sonic quality of the CD is excellent. The CD package is actually simple but it contains nice paintings and photographs by professional artists. So, basically I was impressed at first sight and spin of the CD from this German based quartet who call themselves RELOCATOR as a project rather than a band with Derek Sherinian as guest player in keyboard department. Having listened to the album more than eight spins in its entirety in every spin< I am convinced this project has a very bright future in progressive music scene.

Mixed in a balanced way

As I mentioned above, their music does not seem to demonstrate certain instrument(s) as main soloist that dominates the music, and it is very clearly demonstrated with the mixing and production of the album. The first minute of the opening track "Red Vibes" (6:15) does not give me any clue on who actually takes the melody of the music. All what I hear is a combined work of drums, keyboard fills, solid basslines and guitar that bring the music along. Only than Derek gives his keyboard fills to bring the music into a break where the acoustic guitar takes part combined with solid basslines. The violin then takes its solo followed with keyboard fills and guitar solo that is mixed quite thinly. The keyboard solo performed by Derek is also nice and it enriches the composition.

"Biosphere" (8:02) starts off with a punch of keyboard work that reminds me to the opening of Van Halen's "Jump" that was popular in rock scene in the eighties. The music moves in different way from the opening track and it gives me variation on the style of the music. It's probably close to what Chick Corea Electric Band kind of music. There is a musical riff that reminds me to the kind of Sean Malone (Gordian Knot) or John Myung (Dream Theater) type of work in progressive metal scene. WOW! I love this part as it combines jazz-rock fusion with progressive metal style. It's probably I have a bit of metal cells in my blood (I am a fan of American Kamelot). It also reminds me to a band called as Aghora who played jazz-rock meets progmet. This tune combines segments with dynamic tempo as well as the slower one where the bass guitar plays its dynamic work followed with electric guitar solo at approx minute 6 of this second track.

The album title track "Relocator" (5:26) is composed differently where the guitar part takes its role as melody maker after nice opening with bass guitar takes obvious work. This time guitar takes longer solo in stunning way combined with jazz-rock fusion type of music. Through this track I can see the good chemistry of its founding members - Stefan Artwin (guitars, programming) and Michael Pruchnicki (bass) in music making. I am sure this project has a very bright future in progressive music scene - with or without Derek. They may find permanent keyboard player if they want.

"Proxima" (6:18) brings back to the style of music of the opening track Red Vibes. But this time the progressive metal style is quite obvious right after the intro part. Guitar takes its role as melody maker backed with layered of keyboard work by Derek. As usual, Michael's work at bass guitar work is still obvious. I like the keyboard work that plays at background at approx minute 2:50, combined with soft progressive metal riffs.

"Aavishkar" (10:32) serves as a wonderful refreshment to me as it starts wonderfully with guitar (sitar?) work that reminds me to the music from the East. This time violin takes back into the music after it's absent from previous three tracks. The music flows excellently in jazz-rock - progmet style with dynamic guitar as well as keyboard - backed with good drumming and dynamic basslines. The Eastern guitar / sitar work during interlude that starts at approx min 3:45 is really wonderful. It features also percussion, violin and solid basslines. I really love this segment as well as the overall composition of this tune. In fact, I should recommend you to play this track first at the beginning of the spin and you will find an amazing piece of music composition! I bet you like it. It's a masterpiece composition, really! Bravo Relocator!

"13 Reasons" (6:33) starts off with an ambient keyboard work followed with a musical riffs that features Derek keyboard fills. The tune demonstrates a combination of intertwined work of guitar and keyboard with guitar takes the main role even though keyboard plays its part significantly especially as filler at background. The music also changes its style at the later segments where it turns into a mellow part with keyboard plays some effects combined with guitar riffs mixed thinly (it sounds like in background only). It reminds me to Tomy Bolin and Billy Cobham work in "Stratus" from Billy Cobham album "Spectrum".

The last two tracks would make you awake!

What impresses me more with the work of these genius musicians under the name of Relocator is the last two track "Urban Blue" and "The Alchemist" that both sound wonderful to me. I think the band design it this way that makes the album not boring, they put two energetic style music at the later part of the album. Excellent!

"Urban Blue" (6:35) is really attractive since the first part of the music as it has successfully motivated the listeners with the excellent vibe the music created through a wonderful combination of rhythm section, musical riffs and solo work - especially guitar work. This time you can enjoy the beauty of jazz-rock fusion music that demonstrates great guitar solo that is played stunningly and brings the music in a progressive metal riffs followed with a break. The keyboard plays its fills nicely as well. Well, I love this composition, really. It has rich textures, frequent style changes and great solo works. I can guarantee those of you who love jazz rock fusion will highly appreciate this seventh track.

The concluding track "The Alchemist" (11:32) is different. It starts with an ambient solid bass guitar lines that accompany the keyboard fills as well as acoustic guitar fills ? with no drumming for approximately first minute of the track. What follows is a nice violin solo combined with keyboard fills and dynamic basslines. WOW man! I love it! I tend to play loud this track because I really enjoy the solid basslines that feature intertwined work of guitar, violin and keyboard. It's a very captivating composition, I think. I believe if you are really a progressive music freak, I bet you love this track in its ebtirety. I don't get bored listening to this track in its entirety as it has many style changes. Look at the violin solo at approximately minute 5 - I like it very much! It's a masterpiece composition.


As I have talked a lot in quite detail when I reviewed on track by track basis, I don't think I need to talk more to conclude. It's definitely an excellent album that you should NOT miss if you call yourself a progressive music lover. If you cannot appreciate this kind of music, I doubt that that you are really a proghead ? so sorry my friend. This album is a definitely a four star PLUS rating (9 out of 10). You must get the CD! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Relocator's debut album starts quite uncompromisingly. We're dragged directly into traditional, keyboards dominated Prog Metal. In fact, this music quite reminds me of Derek Sherinian's solo output. Dark, raw sounding (yet perfectly polished and clean sounding that we're discover that this raw sound is just disguise for something better).

In fact, combination of this kind of Prog Metal and more Jazz sounds (still the majority of these 60 minutes are Metal toned) is interesting and won't disappoint. There is also featured dozens of solos (both short and long, both keyboard and guitar-like).

Composition is very consistent, whole album sounds like one big, long song. which certainly help, as it gives you impression of one wild ride through depths, shades and colours of this impression that guys from Relocator conceived.

Impressive start, though sometimes it sounds too monotone. That's not necessarily bad way And there are experimental parts like "strings" parts of The Alchemyst and first seconds of 13 Reasons, used more time during this song. Unique sound that I haven't heard before.

4(+), with one peculiar thing that the more I listen this album, the more I like it.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Relocator is the name of this jazz-prog-metal project from Germany instigated by guitarist Stefan Artwin and bassist Michale Pruchnicki in the early years of the new millennium. Now, after a long recording process, 2010 has seen the reality of the band's debut album, Relocator being an ensamble of guitar, bass, drums and violin plus a special guest on keyboards named Derek Sherinian. His particular contributions on keyboard orchestrations, moods and solos enhance the already existing influences from Planet X for the band's basic sonic framework; other notable influences come from LTE, CAB and Tribal Tech. even though it is not the most featured instrument, Strycharski's violin input becomes very relevant for the overall sound whenever it appears, stating a tight closeness with Tsuboy's style (from KBB, Pochakaite Malko and others). The first 6 minutes in the album are occupied by 'Red Vibes', a vigorous exhibition of catchy musicality, not exempted of nuance and mood variations along the way. 'Biosphere' bears a typically Planet X-like swing, which supposedly helps to enhance the jazz tjing in the band's nuclear proposal. The eponymous third track sounds like a mixture of a tribute to CAB and a homage to Tribal Tech: basically, it retakes the catchy mood of track 1 and gives it a slightly heavier approach. On the other hand, the shift on a 5/4 tempo right after minute 2 brings a typically progressive interlude that most certainly spices things up for the track's melodic development. 'Aavishkar' honors its exotic title and displays effective Arabic moods: the fusion elements are now in full swing, with a particularly excited guitarist who delivers influences from Holdsworth, MacAlpine and Satriani in an elegant fashion. '13 Reasons' and 'Urban Blue' retake the central moods already provided by the first three pieces, even reinforcing the prog-metal stamina: some powerful allusions to LTE are thinly veiled in '13 Reasons'. By now, the band's architecture has become a common ground, so it is only convenient that the album should end on a epic note, which is where the closer 'The Alchemist' settles in. starting with a cosmic intro on bass, guitar and synth, soon the main body delivers a semi-slow heavy motif that states an atmosphere of dark solemnity. Little by little, things get more colorful, which boosts guests Sherinian into playing what is arguably his best solo in the album. A few second before the 4 minute mark, the piece enters a passage of warm nuances, a proper circumstance for the violin's evocative entry. Once the prog-metal factor reenters the scene, the track acquires its maximum epic splendor and is not willing to let go of it at all, not even during the eerie coda that fills the piece's last 2 minutes. A very good album this is, and Relocator is a band to pay close attention to in forthcoming releases: even though the roads of jazz-prog-metal ere being well-trodden throughout the world, this band shows enough musical proficiency in its compositional input as to sound refreshing all the way.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Right from the start this album just hasn't clicked with me. What is interesting (for me anyway) is that I also haven't been able to get too into PLANET X either which also features Derek Sherinian on keyboards like this album does. Mind you Derek's solo albums which are more in the "Rock" vein with lots of solos suits me just fine thankyou. This is still a very good debut from these young Germans and they should be proud.The electric violin gives it a different vibe too from a lot of the Fusion/metal albums I own.

"Red Vibes" has this good heavy sound with background synths. Pulsating synths before a minute then it settles in with violin before 2 minutes. "Biosphere" has this heaviness that comes and goes.There's a fair amount of keyboards too that don't do a lot for me. It settles after 5 1/2 minutes then the guitar, bass and drums start to lead. This is better. It kicks back in before 7 minutes with synths. "Relocator" has some good chunky bass when the song settles in.The guitar solos tastefully after 3 1/2 minutes as the bass and drums support in a fairly heavy manner. Nice.The tempo then picks back up. "Proxima" has a good heavy sound to it then it kicks in heavier with background synths. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes then builds back up again to a heavy rhythm.

"Aavishkar" is a little darker with some atmosphere.Violin before a minute as it turns heavy with synths. The tempo picks up but it doesn't sound as good. Keyboards 5 1/2 minutes in as it settles. It kicks back in at 8 1/2 minutes but not for long. "13 Reasons" kicks in heavily rather quickly. A barrage of drums 2 minutes in with lots of synths. Intense 5 1/2 minutes in. "Urban Blue" settles after 3 minutes and I like it. It picks up again then settles with synths as the tempo continues to shift. "The Alchemist" is my favourite track. Laid back bass to start as synths join in and gentle guitar. It kicks in at a minute. This is really good. Lots of tempo changes once again and the contrasts between the heavy and calm sections continue as well. An excellent way to end the album.

3.5 stars. If it ever clicks with me i'll bump it up to four stars but definitely not now because it leaves me cold.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars This is an album very hard to classify as well as Derek Sherinian who guests on it or even the FromUz, a band originally included in PA as JR/F and now moved to progressive metal.

As many instrumental albums it needs some time and listens to be appreciated. It's what happens with bands like Ozric Tentacles or Niacin. And thinking of Niacin I have to say that "Urban Blue" is not too far from their style. However, initially I was thinking that the sentence "good BUT non essential" was too bad for an album tht's probably "non essential BUT good". The meaning of the sentence changes a bit isn't it?

Back to the album it comes with a very good package. The images in the booklet, amazing pictures and paintings, one for each track, are very nice and would have made a vinyl edition a collector's item.

As I said, Niacin are a good reference for this band. There is skillful playing, a lot of fusion, specially when the metal distortion is replaced by a clean funky guitar. The choice of sounds is perfect. Any solo seems to be "studied". I'm sure that there's a lot of improvisation, but as in the best jazz, it appears like every single note is planned, specially in the keyboard parts.

While drums and guitar (when distorted) sometimes justify the prog-metal classification, bass and keyboards are almost always funky. The result is very good, the only defect as it often happens with fusion is that the album is a bit "cold" and for this reason it takes a while to grow, but with a bit of patience you will enjoy an instrumental album heavy and clean at the same time.

I have really liked the keyboards. The sounds used in each track are probably the best possible, but this is valid for the guitar too.

A very technical ensemble for an impressive debut album. For fans of Niacin, Ozric Tentacles, and of course of Derek Sherinian. An album which grows slightly and requires headphones.

Non essential but good music (with highlights above the average lik ethe title track), but played so impressively that my rating has to be increased.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Relocator' - Relocator (7/10)

Meeting at a crossroads halfway between progressive metal and jazz fusion, it's virtually taken for granted that Relocator would have to be a technically proficient act in order to perform this style. Indeed, this German act has chops that put many even within the prog world to shame. Although this band had been around for several years before this, the self- titled debut is the only official output the band has released, and yet it still gives a very precise measurement of what these musicians are aiming for. Think Dream Theater if they took the advice of Pat Metheny or even Cynic, and you will have an approximation of what this band sounds like. Suffice to say, Relocator's sound may rest in the uncomfortable area that is too heavy for jazzmen and too light for metalheads, but for those unopposed to that midground, Relocator makes for an easy recommendation.

As a listener, I have always been more into metal than jazz, although I have had great respect in turn for jazz, even adoring a handful of jazz artists. Relocator leans somewhat to the jazz side of their sound, but there is a metallic, synth-laden edge to the fusion they play. Early Dream Theater is the go-to comparison here, and it's perhaps not a coincidence that ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian lends his talents here. Although Derek's appearance here may be Relocator's biggest selling point, the most impressive aspect of the sound is the acrobatic guitar work of Stefan Artwin. He provides both metal sweeps and dreamy jazz observations here, and executes both impressively. Frank Tinge's drums are perhaps lean more towards the metal side of things, although there's a nice range. Michael Pruchnicki's bass work on the other hand sticks to jazz, a mellow, but evident and present element to the band. Derek Sherinian and violinist Bartek Strycharski both give the jazz- metal fusion a new dimension. Sherinian sticks to prog metal keyboard proper, but Strycharski's electric violin the moments it's involved in an exotic vibe, as best demonstrated in the mini-epic 'Aavishkar'. The violin is the most surprising element of the band, and it would have been nice to hear a little more from it on 'Relocator', although its absence by no means detracts from the rest of the album.

Although its more a staple of the jazz fusion approach than Relocator themselves, the songwriting on this album is loose, and perhaps too much so for my tastes. Although the music is played with expertise, there is a lack of structure and proper hooks, aspects that I look for even in the most challenging music. Although the way the band plays as one clearly indicates that these compositions were carefully arranged, Relocator's focus on the virtuosic elements of progressive metal and jazz could have been nicely balanced off with more melodic passages to ground the listener down. That being said, the choice Relocator made for their work to be instrumental is all in their favour; their performances are able to run free without having to worry about dealing with a singer. Really, the bottom line here is that Relocator have crafted a fine album that impresses on many levels, but the lack of a distinct sound or signature style keeps this debut from reaching excellence or mastery. The performance art has been refined to a science, but it would be even more impressive still to hear this talented group find a unique blend of fusion to call their own.

Review by VanVanVan
3 stars I'll begin this review with a disclaimer: the kind of prog-metal fusion which Relocator plays is not a genre that I am in general extremely fond of. It often seems to me that the music can fall into a kind of comfortable homogeneity that is pleasant to listen to but not supremely memorable. However, while this self-titled release from Relocator does occasionally run into that problem, there are some very strong moments (both of the long tracks on the album are stellar) as well as some unexpected surprises, including the occasional inclusion of a violin. Of course, all the playing on the album is impeccable (Derek Sherinian guests on the album, and all of the other musicians are more than capable of keeping up), and I suspect that more die-hard fans of this kind of instrumental progressive metal will get even more from the album than I did.

"Red Vibes" starts the album off on a heavy note, with driving guitars and a variety of synths to create a kind of metal-tinged fusion sound. The mood quickly shifts however, and develops into a far more sedate sound, with some truly excellent bass work and more great ambiences courtesy of the synths. The track gets really interesting, however, with the introduction of a violin part, which gives the music a truly unique vibe that isn't heard too much in instrumental progressive metal. As a result, "Red Vibes" is far from standard prog- metal, carrying within it shades of symphonic prog and of course some touches of fusion. Rest assured, though, it's a rocker throughout, and a killer opener for the album.

"Biosphere" begins with some old-school synth sounds creating a very sci-fi atmosphere before the guitar is once again introduced, laying down some extremely heavy and precise riffing which is used just sparingly enough to give the track some extra bite without coming off as intrusive. The ease with which synth and guitar play off one another is very impressive, with melodies and solos trading back and forth and blending together with remarkable fluidity. The playing, of course, is impeccable as well-if I have one complaint, it's that the tracks seems just a smidge overlong: there are some truly excellent sections (there's a guitar solo at around the 6 minute mark that's simply amazing) but there's also some repetitive sections that I think I could have done without.

The title track, on the other hand, has no such problem. With a punchy, grooving bass-line and a perfect blend of jazzy tendencies and prog-metal technicality, "Relocator" is everything that heavy fusion should be. Sections are by turns crunchingly heavy and breezily deliberate-regardless, there's never a note out of place and the melodies around which the track is structured are very, very good. The end of the track is especially of note, with wailing guitar solos and increasingly impressive keyboards.

"Proxima" kicks off strongly as well, with complex rhythms from both guitar and synth. The guitar here is heavier than it has been in many places on the album, with quite a bit of harsh distortion; however, the clean synth sounds as well as multiple melodic solos prevent the track from coming off as too oppressively heavy. As with the title track before it, the latter half of the track is where the composition really seems to hit its stride, with near constant ambience from the synths serving as an excellent backdrop to the chugging riffs as well as the exquisite solos.

"Aavishkar" is the longest track on the album up until this point, and it begins quite mysteriously, with some faintly eastern-sounding motifs and a slower build than man of the previous tracks that hit the ground running. The violin makes a welcome return, lending its unique sound to the track, and to be honest I can't help but wish it had been used more. This is a small complaint, though, as "Aavishkar" is in my eyes one of the strongest tracks on the album, with huge amounts of variety between sections that range from standard prog-metal shredding to trance-like, almost folky themes. The slightly eastern vibe is, in my opinion, the track's strongest asset, and really helps to set it apart in a genre where sameness can be a fatal flaw. An excellent guitar solo at around the seven and a half minute mark is a highlight as well, with a perfect blend of emotive playing and perfectionist technicality strongly reminding me of fellow instrumental proggers Fromuz. Some stellar synth playing (though really, can you expect less from Derek Sherinian?) in the final minute helps bring the track to a strong close, and an understated guitar part finishes the track off on a tantalizingly mysterious note.

Unfortunately, the sameness that "Aavishkar" cleverly avoids is present in spades on "13 Reasons." While the performance is flawless as ever, it simply sounds too similar to the tracks that have come before it that it's simply not that memorable. Even the soloing is not enough to raise the song out of mediocrity, as it just comes off as more of the same. To be fair, the song ends on a better note than it started on, with the instrumentalists wailing away on their instruments like there's no tomorrow, but unfortunately it's "too little, too late" and "13 Reasons" ends up sounding, to me at least, rather forgettable.

"Urban Blue" begins as if it will have many of the same problems, with even the chord progressions beginning to sound familiar. Fortunately, it ends up being decidedly better than its predecessor, though I wish the synths were used a bit more sparingly, blasphemous as that might sound. The guitar ends up being the savior of the track, with several inspired riffs and fills that keep the track sounding compelling. A technically blistering solo dominates the middle of the track, and the track concludes with a fiery guitar part that leads into the final synth wash.

"The Alchemist," clocking it at a very respectable 11 and half minutes, starts off as compellingly as the album's other long track did. A bass/guitar duet creates an air of mystery and anticipation, such that when the heavy riffing comes crashing back, it's all the more powerful for it. This newfound intensity never lets up, either: the musicians sound like they're getting all they can from their instruments, but at the same time, the track never feels needlessly indulgent. As on "Aavishkar," the composition and playing seem to be at a peak here, with the perfect blend of feeling and precision. The melodies in the repeated motifs are excellent as well, lending a dramatic, climatic feel to the piece. Some softer sections break up the track as well, and with them comes the best use of the violin yet, with some parts that are genuinely and beautifully heartbreaking. Not to be left out, though, the guitar delivers a blistering performance as well, and the synths as well come through with an intensity that seemed to be lacking on some of the previous tracks. Overall, "The Alchemist" ends up being a killer closer and a solid addition to the annals of instrumental progressive rock.

All told then, this eponymous release is a mixed bag for me which nonetheless leans toward the positive. The highs are exceedingly high and the lows are never worse than "just ok," though the length and to some degree homogeneity of the album leave me with a slight feeling of impatience if I go at it all in one sitting. That said, the good parts of the album are very, very good, and if you simply can't get enough of virtuosic playing and mind-blowing technicality than this release will leave you far from wanting. Recommended for fans of Liquid Tension Experiment and especially Planet X, and perhaps even for fusion fans looking for a little more bite in their music.


Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Relocator's self titled debut brims over with energy and innovation with 8 instrumental tracks showcasing the vibrant musicianship. Stefan Artwin moves from jazz fusion to metal vibes on guitars, and is joined by the rhythm section of bassist Michael Pruchnicki and drummer Frank Tinge. The jazz section is augmented with electric violinist Bartek Strycharski and keyboardist Derek Sherinian as a special guest, hailing from early Dream Theater and Planet X.

Each track provides layers of inventive instrumental segments veering from heavy riffs to ambient beauty. There are sections that could have used vocals quite easily as the riffs lock in and motor along. It is difficult to differentiate one track from another on instrumental albums but the first 3 songs are excellent, and I got into the lengthy tracks 'Aavishkar' (10:32), and 'The Alchemist' (11:32). The latter track has a mesmirising bass intro and jazzy guitar rhythm, and the keys provide a progressive signature. It builds into a heavy prog riff, and some Steve Vai style lead motifs. The keyboard soloing is exquisite and the lead break is frenetic and fast paced.

A word about the packaging of the CD. Each page is like a framed photo of some abstract and colourful fractal imagery. There is a photo of an open palm, a maze of squares, a spiral and a tunnel; all enigmatic and thought provoking. This was an album I also played on a long road trip and it certainly was uplifting and a pleasant musical journey. The meandering musical shapes, mood swings and tempo shifts were echoed by the long winding and twisting roads. I tend to prefer prog with vocals but this is still great to plunge into on occasions, and is a solid debut from Relocator.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars It takes quite a bit of talent and energy to win me over to an instrumental album. This is not because I'm close-minded or that I can't appreciate pure instrumentation. It's because most instrumental bands lack purpose, personality, and an interesting angle on music. I'm pleased to say, however, that Relocator's debut album "Relocator" (re-released by Generation Prog Records in 2013) is definitely not your normal instrumental album.

The reason for this is that the band has real personality. It comes through in their vibe, in their resistance to showboating, and in their focus on great layering. Right off the bat, "Red Vibes" gives us a hint about this with its pleasing keys, awesome bass, and its somehow "rockin" violin. You see, the band has a winning combination. The album features a real diversity of sound layers. Deep, dynamic bass combines with a folksy violin, unique and catchy keys, appropriately proficient drumming, and incredible guitar work. All of the instruments have various tones, from heavy and technical to light and melodic.

Yes, it's a real winner of a combination. It puts the band's funky personality on display rather well. Instead of boring, pretentious shows of skill, we get REAL songwriting that is executed with skill. Instead of a race to see how many beats per second can be accomplished, Relocator focuses more on the experience and a structure that works.

I'd say that their is definitely a 90's vibe to the music. There definitely is a Liquid Tension Experiment influence here, but all of this is okay with me. I'm a sucker for 90's-style keys (Frost*, anyone?), and I believe Relocator pulls it off with style and absolutely no cheese.

So, from the funk of "Red Vibes" and "Biosphere" to the slightly darker "Aavishkar" to the folksy "The Alchemist", Relocator has crafted a debut album full of twists and turns, personality and diversity, skill and funk. It's quite a trip, and it should definitely be on your list whether you prefer instrumental prog or not.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is the debut album from one extremelly talented band from the good old Germany-RELOCATOR!It was a huge surprise for me to discover such mature song writting and musicianship for a band that I've never heared about it!!Definitelly,a great musical discovery and something to dig deep in time!W ... (read more)

Report this review (#1386607) | Posted by Ovidiu | Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album was a real surprise for me. I thought I had these guys figured out somewhere in the middle of track one, and that's when the guessing began. I've seen people compare then to Planet X, and the comparison is unavoidable since the keyboardist is Derek Sherinian. The style comparison ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#734796) | Posted by dtguitarfan | Saturday, April 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A fresh start for the band, a fresh restart for the genre. If you are looking for a balanced blend between progressive metal and jazz rock / fusion, while being a new record by young promising musicians, this year you have Relocator's debut album. Devoted listeners of artists like McLaughlin ... (read more)

Report this review (#294119) | Posted by aSimionescu | Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ahh, the wonders of forums around the internet. Being a fan of instrumental fusion a la Sherinian, his Planet X ventures and Alex Argento, I welcome good, new outputs in that genre. Sadly, they're not a dime a dozen - or maybe that's a good thing? Either way, reading about Relocator in a "promote ... (read more)

Report this review (#293275) | Posted by Berg | Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This debut has 8 songs, all pretty lengthy but with a strong individuality with strong and easy-to-memorize themes (ex: the mid-eastern theme in Aavishkar, the heavy and bulldozer-like a la Meshuggah riff in The Alchemist, the super-catchy keyboard and guitar theme in Red Vibes, the classic pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#291888) | Posted by -Alex- | Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The music of RELOCATOR is accessible, I would say that there are common points with Mahavishnu Orchestra. The side metal which we often find in this type of group does not make or little left from the group. We find rather a jazzy style melodic there with which is connected various influences, ... (read more)

Report this review (#291702) | Posted by spacefolk | Friday, July 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Relocator is an instrumental tour-de-force of progressive instrumental music. It's a celebration of the joy of the interplay between a group of musicians who are clearly at the top of their game, pushed to the boundaries of chopsville by the ever-remarkable and interesting soundscapes and twiddli ... (read more)

Report this review (#291619) | Posted by KirksNoseHair | Friday, July 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Relocator's self-titled debut is an engaging, melodic and energetic instrumental album with enough mood shifts to satisfy the easily-bored listener. One moment we step into the shade, the next we break down the walls and let the sun come streaming in. Other times the shift is more subtle - partic ... (read more)

Report this review (#291487) | Posted by Progatron | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Relocator does not need Derek Sherinian. Let me explain. Some history is in order. Relocator is the creation of Michael Pruchnicki and Stefan Artwin; between them they penned their self-titled debut album. Both men reside near the city of Nuremburg, Germany - an ancient city that was once ... (read more)

Report this review (#291441) | Posted by rustedsynapse | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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